Saturday, February 19, 2011

Yann in Rwanda (9) - Field Impressions

At the end of the previous entry, one is left with an apparent conundrum about development work.  Water for People actually attempts to resolve it by getting the commitment of the served population by employing an in-country coordinator who builds capacity and thus has a long term stake in the projects.  Water for People’s experience in Honduras shows that after 10 years, the in-country office region in the area they first started is ready to operate on its own, with just sporadic monitoring from the Denver office.  In Rwanda the program was started 2 years ago, so there are quite a few years ahead …
The women working in the field wear elegant, vividly-colored dresses that remain surprisingly clean given the work these women are doing.  Six-year old kids carry what looks like heavy burdens on their head (long banana tree branches, 5-gal water jugs, etc.) while the younger ones just stand immobile looking wide-eyed at the jeep passing by.  The ones with most temerity point towards me joyfully screaming “umuzungu! umuzungu!” (“white person! white person!” in kinyarwandese) or are hand-waving while trying out the one English word they seem to remember from school: “gooduh morrrning!”. 

School is divided in morning and afternoon classes, that’s why you would see as many kids in the banana plantations as you drive towards the school, as in the school itself when you arrive to test the quality of its water system.  The photo below is in a school that has 1,800 students total (primary and secondary).  That means there are 900 students for 12 latrines (six for the boys, six for the girls) during the morning or afternoon session.   

Generally people are quite reticent about having their picture taken, and that’s why I don’t have a lot of photos or videos of Rwandans in their everyday activities to show.  Below is a picture of a brick-making oven (just using the local clay and dry wood): the bricks will be ready in 5 to 8 days when the "oven" has cooled off.

Below are a few pictures of Afridev hand pumps (boreholes) that are ubiquitous in the more rural areas of the suburbs surrounding Kigali. 

Waiting at a Community Water Point

In the picture below Jean-Bosco (The Generation Rwanda volunteer student helping me go around) is standing in front of the Nyabarongo River (the one that had such high levels of E. Coli).

1 comment:

  1. These posts are getting better and better, Yann!
    Sorry to hear about the troubles on the first few days.