Sunday, October 21, 2012

Two Steps Forward One Step Back

Someday I want to leave Rwanda...for good.  

Understand, I love what I do.  I am blessed beyond measure to work with these young men and to see the change in their lives because we are here, because of Team Rwanda.  Leaving is not eminent.  My shelf life in any job, career or busy is about seven years, give or take a year.  I like new challenges.  I like to see things develop, evolve and continue without me as I go on to the next adventure in life.  Here's the problem I see on the horizon..."continue without me".  

When I say me I really mean all of us here on the ground in Rwanda.  Unlike the majority of NGOs we operate more like a business, setting the bar and expecting at some point for the riders and the people we work with to reach and hopefully surpass it.  There have been a few brilliant moments when I exhaled and thought to myself they can do this.  Without a doubt Adrien will be successful in whatever avenue he chooses after cycling.  I also believe Obed is on that cusp as well.  But for every Obed and Adrien I have a dozen others who in my dark moments of realistic shock, will never rise that high.

I am at home this morning while I should be at the National Championship race in Kigali.  I threw out my back picking up Rocky's little girl.  Guess she wasn't so little.  Luckily, I had gone through everything with Dave, our new temporary coach from the US, yesterday and we were dialed in.  Kiki left Friday night to go to Kigali with Jonathan, his almost four year old son.  Kiki was supposed to be at the race this morning riding in the car, helping Max and Jimmy with any mechanical issues and showing Dave the ropes of African racing.  He was a no show.  No show, phone turned off...I want to shake him.  This is typical behavior with people I work with in Rwanda.  If they know they have made a mistake or they want to avoid confrontation they turn off their cell phone.  Mind you, most people in this country have two separate cell phones, two numbers and are on the phone CONSTANTLY.  Sadly, this is not the first time Kiki has done this.  Kiki is the team representative with the Federation and we are teaching him mechanics as his international racing career has come to an end.  How can I ever trust Kiki to lead this team?  

The other day another associate of ours who took over the cargo bike program from Project Rwanda failed miserably.  This gentleman has been asking for help to get the spare parts and new bikes into the country for months.  We have facilitated every step of the way, introducing him to the people in the industry who can help bring more bikes to Rwanda, even paying for his lodging at the WBR (World Bicycle Relief) African Summit in Lusaka this week.  On the morning the entire contingency left for a warehouse and assembly plant tour (the single most important reason for this person to be there), he overslept.  His excuse...because there's ALWAYS an excuse, was he ate too much meat the night before and couldn't wake up.  Just imagine saying that to the owner or CEO of your company in America.  Things like this make me just want to give up and go home.  

....but then there's Obed who has learned so much in America, most importantly, he has learned leadership, self reliance and a no excuses mentality.  I can hear Obed yelling at Kiki right now...and that's a good thought.  I am sure Kiki is sound asleep oblivious to the world and to the damage he continues to do to our trust in his abilities.  Maybe Obed will be the one to help him see the ramifications, maybe coming from another Rwandan will be more powerful.  I frankly do not have much more to give Kiki at this point and need to distance myself from his disappointing self induced behavior.


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