Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Top Man to the Pits

Just posting this before I fly out - must go!

Time for Home

So yesterday I visited the KLM offices and told them I wanted to go home. They said that would be ok. The weather is awful back home - are you sure you want to go? We have a much nicer climate.

I said that I did - my work is complete, my wife and family needs me, I have stones to push on ice, and Championships to win - let me out please!

They said ok! I will just have to cope with the weather. 

So, tonight at 6.30pm I leave for Nairobi, and arrive in Glasgow at 7.30am, going via Schiphol. Its been a flying visit of only 8 days but all that I wanted to achieve has been completed, and that is very good.

I have just one thing to do, and that is to visit Jeff at the site, to take my last photos, and say my goodbyes - with a great sense of sadness.


Update on Building and Stuff

You will all by now be convinced that all I do when I am here in Kigali, is to drink coffee, meet old friends, and watch football. So to put a few things right, and to give you encouragement, here is a summary of all things College:

  • The College building will be complete in the next 4 weeks  - certainly by end of January - it is looking very good, and Jeff and his team are working solidly to meet this deadline
  • The Big Give brought in sufficient finance to complete the essential works that makes the building functional as a working establishment. So it will be completed!
  • The total cost of the building is £93,000 for a building of 500 sqm. (would cost £440k in UK!)
  • It has 9 classrooms - for joinery, IT, 2 classrooms, machine workshop, plumbing, electrics and metalwork. There is a spare room for canteen, plus admin offices and toilets.
  • The finance has been provided wholly by the enormous work of volunteers, Level 8 Projects, St Mungo's Church, and a very wide range of individuals  - MANY MANY THANKS.
  • We have hopes also to build a workshop for £6.5k sometime later in the year. Equipment and furniture will cost £25k approximately -we are still assessing what we need!
  • The courses will start in January 2013.
  • We are in the last stages of arranging finance for 2 couples - the Fahls and the Schnurs - from Germany to come out and support the development of the College, working in Kigali for 3 years,  who will ensure that courses are high standard and guarantee that the street children get into work
  • I have met with the person in charge of the national curriculum development, and this should be available to us at the end of January, for us to use to develop really beneficial courses.
  • A detailed financial plan is almost complete taking a cash flow projection into the first 3 months of the 2013.
  • Much work still remains to be done of course - equipment provision, a workshop area, employing tutors, creating the full business plan, developing life skills and business planning modules.
  • My next stages of work are - produce a detailed accountability framework  - I am looking for a College person with a financial background to help with this - any offers will be greatly valued!
When ever you come to the end of a construction project like this there is a strong sense of honour and privilege to work with people who have put heart and soul into the work.

I would like to particularly to recognise these people for the amount of time they and energy they have spent on this. I am indebted to each of you. You are each BRILLIANT. God has richly blessed us with His Presence on this work, people's prayers have evidently supported a project which could have gone wrong in so many ways, and has not!

Roger, Jeff and Kayitare


Monday, 12 December 2011

Emmanuel - God with Us

I turned up at church late. I admit it was tactical. I wanted a slight lie in and church starts at 9.30. I arrived at just after 10 and by the look of it, a fair number of others had made a tactical decision also.

The reason for the tactic is simple. I am used to services being 1 hour long in Scotland, but in Gatenga, they start at 9.30 and finish around 1.15pm.

Most of the service is in Kinyarwandan, and so for the length of the service I am provided with a translator. He is Emmanuel. His name meaning God with Us.

He is very skilled at interpreting, at least as far as I can tell. Emmanuel has been my interpreter most times at have been at church, and we have become friends.

In addition, a new innovation at the service, is the Kinyarwandan song book, which I sang from, which of course means I can sing in Kinyarwandan now! Not got a clue what the words said but it was great to be able to sing to God.

In Scotland, hands are often shoved in pockets during services, but in Rwanda there is considerable use of them - to bury your head in your hands when praying, to greet and to say goodbye, to cuddle and welcome, to indicate fellowship and friendship, to challenge the audience during the message, and of course to praise God for his great goodness.

Scottish men do not raise hands to God. We are completely unable to do so - is that not right Fleming! 7 times I have been here, and 7 times I have kept my hands where they were supposed to be - by my side. So there is no reason to change a genetic pre - disposition to frozen arm syndrome - is there!

Just do not expect me to do it at Chryston Church - that would be too far!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Deep Deep Deepest Trouble Ever

I write this blog in trepidation knowing that it is now almost impossible for me to return home!

I am sitting in the dark quietly munching an Italian Fish and Chips carry out, having walked a very very beautiful women home.

I mean I did not expect to get into trouble tonight. I mean sometimes a man goes out and hopes trouble might fall upon him, but tonight it came out of the blue!

I had arranged to meet Denise for drinks at 7pm at the local Italian restaurant. Some of you will remember that Denise worked at Solace when Roger and I arrived in Kigali 15 months ago, but then left for good reason

Well I had contacted her thinking we could have a coffee together and catch up on news. She suggested 7pm after church and mentioned she had a couple of gifts that it would be great if I could deliver to Callum, Dunbar, and Dumbarton - where her Scottish family live.

Well no problem there. Aye Right!

First I get a taximoto to the restaurant. I am just arriving when lying sprawled and motionless is a body - no movement at all. Sundays are always like this I find! Off duty and whether you are out in the fresh air in Kigali, or minding your own business in Church, there is always someone trying to play the dead person, and this one seemed pretty dead.

There was a car ahead and it looked like an accident. I went to check, blood from mouth, no breathing, no movement, but yes a pulse. Is the ambulance on its way - no coherent answer - they speak some foreign language here(!) and I speak only English.

Check him further for airway and he suddenly sits up. He is always doing this his friend responds - epilepsy, and the car was just stopping to help. Eventually the army arrive, and he is fine and I beetle off for my date (oops meeting).

So Denise arrives with a large parcel, and we have much chat about many things, including family, parents,  work, and finally Christmas. She tells me about last Christmas when she was in Scotland, and how much she will miss not seeing her Scottish family this year, and how much she wanted to give them cards and presents!

So, because the presents were not wrapped and the cards were not written, I spent the evening helping her,  in the Italian Restaurant, to get all these ready so that I could take them to Scotland with me.

So what's the deep deep trouble you ask. Well, before I left for Rwanda I absolutely promised Fiona that I would definitely get the labels done for our Christmas cards, and yes, you have guessed it, I did not do it.

To make matters worse yesterday Fiona texted me to say she had done nearly all our cards - just leave the labels and I will do them on Wednesday when I am back I txt. - the addresses are all done she replies - NO, NO, NO!!! Doomed!

I am in deep deep trouble. I have spent a great evening chatting with a  beautiful women, helped her with her cards and presents, am delivering them to Scotland for her, and I have not done anything to help my wife.

I cannot come home. How could such a nice evening out have such a twist to it? What could I do - she asked me to help her!

Oh Deep Trouble.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Footie Kigalia

I had been talking to John Mutesa on Wednesday about how the Friends of Jesus football team was doing. Oh we are winning he said! But then all Rwandans start with the positive - even if they are not. Its just a trait that you have to get used to.

Anyway I am a Scot, so I am used to aspiration being out of proportion to reality, and this morning I checked Google maps where the pitch was and directed my taximoto to the big match.

I arrived a bit late, and had fortunately missed the first goal, which was against us. The game was against another church team, who seemed to me to have more skill than ours. We were particularly good at getting the ball, and then losing it immediately trying to dribble instead of passing. 

Where was the coach, what was he doing letting this continue. Immediately Macfarland was desperate for winning in his usual competitive style.

At half time it was 1 - 0 to the opposition, and John Mutesa, in the smart blue, had a word with the team - John is a pastor in the church, and generally known as Mutesa. The second half started the same as the first, and before long we had tried to dribble out of defence and given away another goal! 

My attention deviated from the game to the volleyball behind me. Here is Betty (see yesterday's Blog) showing the boys how to play. No chance of the other team winning that game.

I would have stayed to the end, but I got a text from Dave Wald, to say that he had just arrived in Kigali, and he had an hour and would we like to meet for a chat. Actually I had presents from David McAdam for Dave. Unfortunately I did not have them with me, so it was back to Remera to collect them and then onto the Novotel for coffee.

What an interesting chat but more of that shortly

The result 3 - 2 for the baddies! But they tried hard and John tells me he is trying to get a coach for them, and with a bit of advice they may go far - but perhaps not as far as a game against the Chryston Church team.

Friday, 9 December 2011

The Street Children again

The Expo for the Vocational Training Schools (see below) is just 800 yards from L'Eglise Vivante - the church that Comfort Rwanda partners with and whose vision it was to build the College. The Expo on the right overlooks the whole of Gatenga in the distance - a pleasant short walk - no requirement for the Taximoto.

Immediately one is reminded that life's roads are much rougher, and heavy burdens are carried by the individual. We have it easier in the West even if we think otherwise.

It would be wrong to think that all houses are like this but many are. Some are being replaced but all too slow for these people. Some help is being invested and here are plans for a new health centre right opposite the church building.

Should be interesting in a year or so.

The church (below) many of you will have seen from previous photos. No investment here, and I just wonder about how long it will hang on before the developers move in!

But I was not here to see the building. The last time I visited was a Friday and I knew there was a chance to meet the street children again and I just went on spec. Sure enough I heard singing from a small door and there they were dancing, singing and practicing for Sunday's service, under the expert guidance of Betty.

Betty is the administrator of the Street Childrens project, but she does much more than this. On this occasion her superb rhythm and gentle encouragement of the children had them performing 5 songs for me - a private concert and much more edifying than speeches - loved it!