Meetings in Kigali

Trip Start Mar 31, 2009
Trip End Apr 22, 2009

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Flag of Rwanda  ,
Friday, April 17, 2009

The driver with the blob on the windshield was back at 8:45. I tried asking his name but couldn't make it out, and he couldn't really explain. He doesn't speak French, only Kinyarwanda, but he comes with a good reputation and is vouched for by people we know and trust. It's important here to have a trustworthy driver.
About 9:00 we arrived at the Presbyterian conference center where our fellows are staying and where we're holding our meetings. I have invited two of our young men to attend this conference, they speak French and some English as well as Kinyarwanda and have the potential to be a great help in the future. They both ran late arriving, they had transportation problems which are common, so we waited for them, finally starting about 10:00. We made up the extra time by trimming our breaks and going later in the evening.  

I started with a PowerPoint presentation, and then we moved into the discussion of our fundamental beliefs, which went until lunchtime. We had chicken, peas and carrots, fried bananas, rice, sauce, French fries, a soft drink, and fruit for dessert. They're big into carbs in Africa.... The food was quite good and well prepared, and our attendees really packed it away. It's a pleasure to see them eat well. For the men coming from Giti this will be like the Feast of Tabernacles, they'll eat some meat every day for three days. At home they can only eat meat a few times a year.  
Over lunch we discussed many things. One of them of course was the election of Barak Obama. I was told that almost the whole country got up early the morning after the election to follow the results. The final results were announced late in the day in the US, which is early in the morning in East Africa. Apparently an audible cheer went up all over Kigali when the final result was announced.  We also talked about African snakes and local remedies for snakebite, lions, national parks, insects, and superstitions. For example in Rwanda many children are taught not to kill a praying mantis or they will die themselves, and Rwandans believe that if a woman sees a snake and bares one breast the snake will stay still and not leave, allowing someone else to kill it. We went on to talk about hippos, national parks, and travel between Burundi and Rwanda. It was quite an animated discussion.
This is a very good site for us to use. It's clean, not expensive and well located, even if a bit disorganized. Mr. Mundeli did very well with the arrangements
After lunch we continued with the doctrinal discussion. For the last session we started working on the temperament profile. Again with the language barriers we had to work our way through some vocabulary, so that everyone could complete the profile in the evening. That was their homework.
We had a power outage at one time, so I couldn't use the AV projector until later in the day, but we worked around that. During our breaks we stepped outside and chatted and took in the views we had of Kigali. One of the men pointed down to a street and clearing in the middle of the buildings and said it was a place where people had been murdered during the genocide which is now 15 years in the past.
April is the memorial time, that's when most of the killing occurred. There have been some grenade attacks against genocide memorials. No one had been hurt so far, but they frightened people. It's no doubt the work of people who were involved in the genocide, or people who are angry with the course the country is taking. Overall, however, from what I can see, things seem pretty positive for the future of Rwanda.

There was a beautiful sunset over the city as we drove back to my hotel for the night.
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