Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Big City

Spent today in Kigali, the big city, to get my work visa and some extra pages in my passport. I had perhaps my first ever exposure to true bureaucracy…from Rwanda and the US.

First, I wasn’t able to get my work visa because we didn’t have a letter from our project director stating that we are replacing two American workers who will be leaving in the next year. We had letters updating the “volunteer inventory” for the organization, and other letters stating what exactly our duties would be at CCHIPs, but because CCHIPs at some point stated it wouldn’t hire more than a certain number of volunteers, our project director needed to explain that 2 others would be leaving…even though those records should be on file at the NGO office as well? I don’t really know…I can’t understand French that well. All I know is: no work visa.

And THEN the Americaland embassy that I was *so excited* to visit only allows American citizens in on Tuesdays and Fridays. Ugh.

At the beginning of the day, I thought this excitedly meant that we’d get to go back to Kigali in a week! By the end of the day I realized that Kigali is largely miserable and I’m not too excited to go back in a week. It’s hot and dirty and dusty and not fun and expensive and tiring…and I am most definitely now sick, so I’m going to blame it on Kigali.

After failing to accomplish anything on bureaucracy lane, we ran some errands for CCHIPs, which included mostly picking up office supplies. Marvin and I gaped at the prices of chairs and desks at a furniture store and refused to let our office manager purchase a filing cabinet that we insisted would be cheaper to buy at IKEA and then ship over here. I think that was my only true contribution to CCHIPs today though.

Then we had some FABULOUS Indian food for lunch. (I was psyched when I looked at the menu and realized that it was the same as Jewel of India. I was not psyched that they described their saag paneer as “chunks of cottage cheese”…the Jewel description just says “chunks of cheese”…which is much more appetizing.)

I was asleep in the back of the car before we even left the city and woke up when we pulled into the CCHIPs driveway. Sorry there’s not too much else to report…but the big city was just exhausting.

Website Update: there was a HUGE spike in website traffic yesterday! Like TEN TIMES as many hits as normal! Unfortunately…90% of those hits were from “robots”, so I’m not convinced that anybody visited? I hope to change it on Tuesday so give me ideas!

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