Wednesday, May 27, 2009

You Actually Can Live on Pringles and Wine

It’s Tuesday. I’m sitting in front of the Ecobank in Kigali waiting for Felix, my Rwandan assistant and go to man, to cash our check for $400,000...Rwandan francs that is. The exchange rate is 550 RFW to $1 USD so don’t get too excited. You do the math. That’s to pay for four guards, Felix and living expenses for the month. Thank God for the free container of Pringle wanna be’s at the Simba store down the street. I can see why they were giving away the tomato flavor….quite nasty, however, it will keep me physically alive until I can get back to Musanze. But why is it making my tongue feel like sandpaper?

How is it that when I had my “big time” career with all the money and perks I just couldn’t pull myself together enough to give it everything I had and then some? Yet, I work for free for Project Rwanda, pull routine 12-14 hour days and can’t wait to get out of bed and do it again tomorrow? Could this be what living passionately and living your dream is all about?

This morning I blasted out of bed at 4:45am for another trip to Kigali. A couple days will pass between blogs and I have so much that happens I don’t know where to begin on my blogs and really wonder if people will actually believe this crazy life I lead. Since David’s death on Friday, Jock made a trip to Kigali for meetings. Jock and I returned to Kigali on Saturday to attend a fundraising event with Suzanne and to just be with her. We left Sunday afternoon after meeting with Lawrence and Pat, David’s wife.


An aside…Lawrence….tears well up the second I think of him. He was David’s assistant. A big, strapping 6’2” Uganda with a heart even larger than his person. The moment he came up the stairs and saw Jock he broke down. His pain is palpable. I’m sure the tears he has cried could fill all of Lake Kivu. That is love…to give yourself over to one person, one friend, one mentor to the degree Lawrence did is to also risk such extreme heartache. If I learned anything from Lawrence and seeing him in such pain, ironically, is that I need to let myself let go, really feel, really love, let go and follow my heart emotionally. Yes, the pain is excruciating when something bad happens, but I am sure the good times while David was alive were truly lived. My prayers are with you Lawrence….


Sunday we arrived back in Musanze to quickly test to riders for the Tour of the Volcanoes in two weeks. Being Rwanda, being that Jock was leaving in less than 24 hours, we come home to no electricity and no water. Electricity is generally out here and there throughout the week, but a double whammy with the water….that is testing the new level of patience I have tried to embrace. I took down phone numbers, notes, to dos with a head lamp on sitting on the side of Jock’s bed while he packed and dictated. This is high tech NGO business operations in Rwanda!
Monday morning no electricity no water. All of a sudden we hear the guard running the hose outside. We gave each other this look like we had been on a life raft in the middle of the ocean, WATER!!!! But the water didn’t come out of the faucets. All of a sudden Jock realized, someone had shut off the main to the house, probably a rider not knowing any better. Did I mention it is very helpful to have a sense of humor in Rwanda?

So I follow Jock on his motorcycle with Rebecca and Olivier in the car we borrowed from Owen so we could haul his luggage to the airport. Drop of motorcycle number 1, head to MTN for a meeting for the Tour of Rwanda, check emails (remember no electricity at home means no internet), head to Owen’s, pick up Suzanne and motorcycle number 2. Go to see Euben to get custom info for motorcycle number 2 and leave it there. Head to airport, drop Jock off, head back to see Euben to get bikes shipped to Tanzania (it’s only 12:30 at this point). He’s gone, drop girls at Nakumata, the Walmart of Kigali…NOT! Go back find Euben, get into warehouse, beg to keep car another day as I’m going to miss the bus….I’m getting hungry….pick up Suzanne and Rebecca, drop Suzanne off wolf down crappy pizza they picked up for me…did I mention I had a piece of toast that day? Head back home on the ROAD OF DEATH!!! Drink a bottle of wine to calm down….where are those damn Pringles we bought at Simba?

And that brings me to 4:45 Tuesday morning….the saga continues

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