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Rwanda – August 5th 2008


Well as I stated last night today finds me travelling back homewards. Before I flew out at 5pm I had a couple of jobs to do. We set off early, around 7.15 back to Zulla’s for the Family Friend project, where I wanted to get a few extra images to try and capture the family’s whole life best I could. To be honest they had very very few possessions, not even a small radio, which everyone seems to have in Rwanda, you see them out walking with a little battery powered radio, which must cost very little. The fact they don’t have one underlies how poor they are, and I will be following closely myself to see how they go on. It should be good to see them set out and if all goes well, see them develop. I’m sure you all will be interested too, so keep looking and supporting Send a Cow!!

That job out of the way we embarked on another job after a quick change over of staff, and set out to the disabled people’s project. The setting was just stunning, way up into the hills following the contours to wind up the mountainside, with 3 point turn hairpins (I kid you not!) the road, sorry, that’s a bit rich, track, wound up to around 2500metres above sea level, around 7500 feet! It had rained overnight too, quite a surprise as it is the dry season really, and the earth smelt fabulous. Just goes to show, you could probably stand me in the middle of the Sahara and within 48 it would rain!

The farmers we met at the top of the mountains were part of a scheme which started over 5 years ago in the area, and these members were the 2nd generation as it were, and they had a variety of cattle, goats and rabbits, which are apparently very popular. All the farmers also had a hive of bees, apiece, which were housed all together in an isolated area, and 16 hives had given around 120kg of honey in the first 6-7 months, for which they are getting around 250f kg, selling it to a processor, as well as keeping some for themselves too.

If the road in was interesting, the road back out was worse, barely wide enough for the Land Cruiser at times, and just a grass strip in places, with drops down either side probably well over a thousand feet, with the 3 point turn hairpins thrown in for good measure. I would have liked to video it, but the video was in all my baggage somewhere! We did get safely however, as you may have surmised, because you are reading this, and were back in time to have lunch at the office with the Send a Cow team, which was good. Henry wasn’t there; he was showing the shadow development minister around some of the projects. Good to see a politician and potential minister taking his job so seriously, as he and other MPs , around 25 I think, have been in the country over their recess, working. Now there are two words that you don’t normally find in one sentence, politician and working!

I must, at this point, thank the staff in Rwanda for a great time. It has been good fun and I think we have got some good pictures for Send A Cow. They have put up with me, been patient and tried to understand some of the very strange requests I made trying to get the photos, as believe it or not, the photos are not just off the cuff. The secret is in making it look like they are! So, anyway, Thanks a bunch, you are doing a great job and deserve all the credit for doing so.

I am writing this from my hotel room in Addis Abada, Ethiopia, where the airline have arranged a stop over. Took ages to get out of the airport, with queues and goodness knows what, but got here I did eventually. I popped out with the intention of going for a quick walk down the street, which is well lit up, so fairly safe. I had just got to the hotel gate when I noticed a lassie standing around outside the grounds, 2 steps further there were several more, and they weren’t wearing traditional costumes either! Call me slow but it took a couple of seconds for me to realise why they were there. One of them saw me and smiled and said hello. I yelped, ran back to my room and hid under the bed for ten minutes. You don’t get that in Fell End, I can tell you!

Cheers for you lot too, if you have bothered to read all this drivel. I hope you have found it interesting and informative, as well as amusing. Please drop me a line and let me know, and if enough of you are interested I might try this "article carry on" a bit more often.

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