Wednesday, August 12, 2015

...And People Taking Care of Us

I tell people all the time that life in Rwanda is like a roller coaster, highest highs and lowest lows and oftentimes within hours, even minutes of each other.  Sorry Americans...life is EASY in the US, EASY.  My worst days in the US, losing my business and my house, don't compare to what I live through in Rwanda most days, weeks and months.  If you think of it in an image, life in the US is wavy lines, ups and downs but generally pretty flat.  Life in Rwanda is straight up and down lines with very little middle.  

Tuesday was not good....Rocky buried his brother.

We also had power for 2 hours yesterday.  A 24 hour period, 2 hours.  Actually counting up until 5:30 this evening...36 hours with 2 hours of power.  We do have a generator but due to these ongoing power issues we have been running it a lot...$$$$ a lot.  At $20/hour we have gone through $500 of diesel this week.  That is with rationing the generator use.  When we starting burning through money at that rate, I panic.  We have diesel in our budget but with this year's outages, significantly worse that last year, we burned through the budget a month ago....four months to go, with weeks at $500?....time to go to town for some wine.

But today is Wednesday.  After writing about Rocky, the outpouring of love and support from around the world was such a ray of hope.  I will show Rocky every single comment on FB and this blog.  I want him to know he's not alone.  We also had a very dear supporter of the team donate the money for his brother's funeral, keeping Rocky and his family from slipping another notch down the poverty rabbit hole.  The team, Mr. AM and I will pull together a collection tonight for the widow--and last night I find out it's four children, not two.  

Mr. AM figured out a way to rig up a battery to our internet router so we could keep working as the day wore on without power.  

Every call we made to EWSA, or the Federation or anyone in "power" the person on the other end said, "get used to it until after dry season."  That's another 3 weeks!  Apparently, Rwanda relies heavily on hydro electric power--no water, no power.

Then up comes up the Police Commissioner of the Musanze.  He's here to introduce us to his niece's husband, who's Belgian, a cyclist and knew all about our program.  We mention 36 hours without power and boom he's on his phone.  An hour later someone shows up at our compound with some cable.  He's running.  Minutes later, the power comes on.  As I'm typing, it just went off again so we had another generator free 35 minutes so I saved $11.  I guess we'll see....but at least someone is trying to help us.

While our life today is consumed with batteries and power and securing internet so we can keep working, I am still dealing with Tour of Rio, All African Games and the upcoming World Championship in Richmond, VA in September.  Riders, visas, expenses, plane tickets, housing....try doing that with no power!

I knew we could secure host housing in Richmond for the World Championships, but I really wanted and needed to find a better solution as our team would be split up and it would require running here and there and figuring out food etc, the mechanic would have hated me.  It was a good and very appreciated option from Richmond Hospitality, but not our best option.  We still do not have approval from the Ministry of Sport for the budget I submitted a month ago.  It is not cheap to get from Rwanda to Richmond with eight people!

Then, these amazing guys I've never met, one rode with Nathan while he was visiting Rwanda a few months ago, have been working on several things for us.  First, their company, Sabotage Cycling, gave us 200 bottles with this really cool Rwandan logo on it which we can hopefully use at the World Champs next month.  Then, they went to work on finding us a housing sponsor and today they came through with 75% of the funding we needed!  Hallelujah, we can cover the rest.  Thank you to the donor whoever you are....you have no idea how much it means to us.

I jump on Airbnb and find a place right in town perfect for the race, perfect for the team.  A big kitchen to cook our own meals and enough bedrooms for all of us.  I send a message to the owner and get it.  In her response back to me she said she knew all about Team Rwanda and her neighbors were Rwandan American and her husband has been to Rwanda.

Coincidences today?  I think not.  

I think there's this almighty plan, this God like force in the world.  For me, it is God.  We needed a little help, it had been a rough day and people rallied...for us.  

I am doing this new series in my Headspace meditation.....Mr. Andy Headspace and I have come to a truce...which is on Acceptance.  This morning I said to Mr. AM, I just need to settle in with this lack of electricity issue.  There's not much we can do.  Things will be okay and I just have to make better use of my time when I have it, which I did.  Still, it wasn't easy.  Frankly, having no power SUCKS.  But as I let go, people picked up the slack for me today....so thank you Russell, Clay, Felix, Mr. AM, Chris, Airbnb House Owner and Mr. Donor.  You gave me a peak day.

Ok....so can I please get the power to come back on?

I am a work in progress Mr. Andy Headspace!

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