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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Friday, 04 Jun 2010

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapFriday, June 4th

I always have one melt down day per trip and that took place today. Was up by 3:30 am and still managed to be late meeting Yves. (As it turns out, the cell phones here don’t automatically set to the right time and my watch won’t work anymore…wrecked that washing clothes in a bucket.) Luckily I got there just as the bus was pulling away.

We arrived at the Mayor’s office to find she wasn’t there, but we could talk to an associate. Our objective here was to have them agree to release the 37 totes for the sponsor families and the 9 Faraja orphanage boxes so I could arrange transport to Tanzania. The language barrier made things difficult and things were not looking good. During the Kinyarwandan conversation with Yves they turned to me and said, “there is a problem here” and “you made a big mistake when you gave us the first letter and packing list because you did not ask for these items then.” Another two men got involved in the negotiations, which were now in English so I could now be a part of them. Eventually they started to come around and realized how important this is to the families in Kahama and Canada. I really stressed how important it was for the delivery of this crate to be successful if we are to send more in the future. I was tearing up as I talked about the heavy sense of responsibility I felt towards all involved. They agreed to work with us to sort out the problem and needed me to send them all of the relevant documentation by email. They were just great and I walked out of there with a renewed sense of optimism!

Yves and I rushed back to the city to each follow up on what we had to do. Along with sorting this out, we still didn’t know where our crate actually is in Kigali. All I had was the name AMI Kigali and was told that it was them who had brought the crate over from the port. No one seems to know where this company is, there is no phone number and on the internet they appear to be a coffee bean company not truckers. I needed to email a few people to try and get more information. Of course the internet wouldn’t work at the hotel so I gave up after a very frustrating hour, I packed up my computer and headed up the hill to an internet café.

(I just have to interject here that I was almost finished this blog and the power went out so I lost my last 10 minutes of typing!!!!)

After getting organized and plugged in at the cafe I found that once again, I could not get on-line. I looked around me and because everyone was busy typing away, I assumed they were on, so I persevered. I later found out that NO, the internet didn’t work there either so I copied everything to my memory stick. By now, another hour had gone by; I packed up and headed to the next place up the hill.

I tried to log on there and it was so slow that I thought I would actually time how long it takes to get on…it was 10 minutes.

(Considering what I’m writing about, I guess it’s appropriate that the p0wer just went off AGAIN!!!!!!!..better save after every sentence!)

When I was finally in a position to mail the documents off my memory stick I was asked to change to a different computer where there was a port that actually worked. I started the whole process again and then suddenly the internet shut down on all the computers. Everyone around me looked just as frustrated as I felt, as the staff walked around asking us to be patient as they were sure it would come on shortly. When it finally did and I FINALLY got to the point where I could email the documents, I opened them to find they were corrupted and unreadable. The internet shut down again right then and that was my breaking point. I paid for my 1 ½ hours with tears running down my face. As I stepped outside the cell rang and it was Franklin. You know what it’s like when you’re feeling like that and you hear a friendly voice? Poor Franklin, he couldn’t understand what I was trying to say and he just kept saying, “I will come, I will come to the hotel.” Everyone was staring at the ‘mzungu’ walking down the busy road crying so I waved over a motorbike. The poor young driver looked panicked as he handed me the helmet but he sped me safely home. I was so glad to see Rylan there when I walked in to finish my meltdown in the privacy of our room.

Franklin and Heike arrived and we spent the evening together eating and having a beer on our deck with the amazing view of the city below us! I didn’t even look at my computer again the whole evening. After all, tomorrow’s another day! Maybe we’ll finally be able to lay our eyes on our crate!!!!