"I'm what the world considers to be a phenomenally successful man. And I've failed much more than I've succeeded. And each time I fail, I get my people together, and I say, "Where are we going?" And it starts to get better." - Calvin Trager
Wednesday, March 14, 2007 I'm in Rwanda -- and Blogger knows I'm here!
I'm writing from Kigali, Rwanda -- and apparently when you log on to Blogger from Kigali, it knows you are in Rwanda and so everything is in French -- which is kind of interesting (Google comes up in English but offers links to versions in French and Kiswahili).
The conference ended well. There is a very lengthy outcomes document that will eventually be up on the EGR website -- 12 or so recommendations for the Anglican Communion and for Lambeth. Really good stuff, and it works really well as a summary document of the program content. It doesn't capture the really amazing relational content -- but of course there is no real way to capture that. Still have lots of stories to tell from that conference, but I'll space those out over time when I get back.
The flight to Kigali was an easy 4 hours -- and it really feels like I'm in Africa now. Whereas Johannesburg (until you get out to the townships) has a really European/British/first world feel to it, just flying into Kigali felt like flying into Accra. Low-light streetlights so the streets don't really show up from the air. Most of the stoplights were off on the way to Josh and Alissa's place ... don't know if that's a power outage or if they just turn them off after a certain time.
Anyway I'm at Josh and Alissa Ruxin's house now. Josh is the professor of public health at Columbia University who does the Millennium Villages Project in Mayange (and Alissa is his wife). They've got a nice place. It's also kind of a hostel for folks who visit him from out of town, so I fit right in.
There's an interesting crowd staying at the house right now. THere's an old friend of Josh's who is the recently-appointed New York Times bureau chief for East Africa. His wife works with him shooting video of the stories he files for the NY Times website. They're here after spending time in the Congo (which she was telling me all about tonight -- and trying to explain the three-way dynamics of the conflict there, which was really not easy at all). Also staying here is a nurse practitioner from NYC who has been volunteering for Josh doing public health work in Mayange for the past six months, and also the director of the public health track at Columbia (who's specialty is clinical psychiatry in epidemiology).
Another thing that makes it feel a lot more like my previous trips to Africa than staying at the conference center is the need to be much more mosquito-conscious. I have a net over my bed and the one house rule is to make sure the screens are secure (Josh and Alissa have both had malaria and don't want a repeat -- and needless to say, I'd rather avoid it, too!)
Tomorrow is a day in Kigali and will be pretty relaxed. I'm going to grab a taxi to the Genocide Museum in the morning. I've got some phone calls to make to try to set up some other stuff, but it looks like I'll be in Mayange on Friday and Saturday, back in Kigali on Sunday -- possibly out to Buyumba on Monday. The whole country is the size of Massachusetts and the roads apparently are fairly decent, so it doesn't seem like it's going to be too hard to get around.
Exciting things are happening with the Millennium Villages Project here. Paul Kagame (Rwanda's president) brought just about all of his senior government officials out to Mayange last week and it became official that things have gone so well that they're going to scale up the project for the whole country. They're changing the name (making it part of their 2020 development programme) so they can have ownership of it, but it will be all the same interventions.
This is incredibly exciting -- and because the churches are such integral service providers in the communities, it presents a lot of potentially cool opportunities for the Anglican church here to get involved. That's my potential trip to Buymuba -- thanks to the Rev. Amy Coultas (who has the daughter of the Bishop of Buyumba in her campus ministry at Louisville), I'm going to get a chance to go meet the Bishop and his wife and talk about some of this stuff.
Well, it's late and I need to crawl under my net and get some sleep. More tomorrow.
| Mike at 3/14/2007 03:53:00 PM
I've been enjoying reading your African adventure. Good to see you've had a safe flight out of Johannesburg. The Mrs & I got married by an Anglican priest, and I went to school in an Anglican church.
EGR resources and connects the church to embrace what one person, one congregation, one diocese and one church can do to make this mission of global reconciliation happen.
Want to find out more ... check our our website at www.e4gr.org.
"Christ's example is being
demeaned by the church if they ignore the new leprosy,
which is AIDS. The church is the sleeping giant here.
If it wakes up to what's really going on in the rest
of the world, it has a real role to play. If it doesn't,
it will be irrelevant."