Day Two

(You may want to see my first post on my visit to Rwanda if you missed it.) Right now, I’m sitting in the Sentenary House, the home of the Capacity Project in Rwanda, upgrading a System 76 laptop with Ubuntu Gutsy.  I hope to prepare this laptop for a Rwandan developer for the iHRIS project I’ve been working on.  Of course, that’ll mean Emacs.  I hope to spread the Church of Emacs to Rwanda. In my last post I kind of left you hanging on the Mille Colline.  Yes, I had a coke there but I should tell you how disappointed I was that the movie showed a completely different building then the actual Hotel.  I’m sure they had their reasons (they always do) but I really do expect movies to give me an accurate portrayal of places I’m extremely unlikely to visit.  Just in case, you know, I visit. Also, we had a brush with fame.  The hotel I’m staying in (the Kigali Serena) is where Tony Blair was staying.  For a brief moment, we saw President Kagame rush in and then quickly back out.  I had no time to request an autograph.  Mostly because I didn’t recognize him. Dramatic difference between Kigali and the US: the number of gates and guards.  It seems that every major intersection has one or two men in uniform carrying AK-47s.  Almost every building and home has at least a guard and, unless it is right on the road, a fenced in courtyard with razor wire or shards of glass atop the walls. I remember similar gates and glass-topped walls in Haïti, but the guards are an unsettling addition. Vanessa told me that, in part, the practice started as a way to employ men who have been fighting most of their lives and hadn’t developed any marketable skills.  Fair enough. Another thing about Rwanda is the number of people walking along the road and the street vendors walking about.  Some (evidently) sell SIM cards or minutes for your phone.  This is in addition to a wireless shop on every other corner.  I was amused by the portable phones they carry that look similar to a desk phone, but without the desk. Finally, though I seemed to be on a normal sleep schedule after my first night here, I couldn’t sleep at all last night.  Seriously, I saw the sun rise.  I’m sure part of it was that I was up hacking away till 4 in the morning (“just one more thing”) but, still, right now I’m tired.  Thank God Rwanda’s primary export is coffee.  I need it now!

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