Saturday, September 21, 2013

Images and Words, Plus a Map!

So, based on a hand (computer) drawn map of the location of the guest house I will be staying in, in Rwanda, I have created a Google Map of important landmarks and a new place called "Home" - the Ward Brooks Guest House.

Here is a link to that map which I have made public so you can peruse if you so desire.

Rwanda Map

Another interesting thing about Rwanda is that there aren't really any street addresses.  The streets do not always have names, I am, as of yet, unsure what the different KK16 etc names are in Google Maps.  The big roads have names.  The way you say where you are going is to pick a landmark that people will know about, if you were taking a taxi, and then give directions from there.  Like, drive west on African Union Boulevard from Prince House and turn right on the next street.  It will be the big house with the gate, or something.

This means, among other things, you cannot get mail at your home unless you have some sort of official address, like an embassy or something.  So, when I arrive, I will have to rent a PO Box at the Kigali post office if I want to receive snail mail.

Next up on the agenda is photos.  Here are some photos of the guest house that were sent to me by its owner.

You are now formally invited to imagine me doing work atop that gorgeous platform gazing every so often at the "Land of a Thousand Hills".


Learning about Rwanda...for non-Africans

I have been reading this other blog for a while now, by, I believe, a Scandinavian ex-pat living in Kigali and writing up her life there.  It's really snarky, often funny, usually informative, and mostly interesting.  I hope I get to meet her.  Anyway, if you want to learn more check it out here:

Interesting things I have learned there:

1.  Flip-flops are illegal in Rwanda.  The reason has something to do with signaling non-"third-world-nation" status to investors or something.

2.  Walking on the grass is illegal in Rwanda.  The reason, don't ruin the grass!  Also, see item 3.

Which unfortunately means that these killers are out as well...

3.  The last Saturday of every month is Umuganda, a day of community service for all Rwandan citizens.  They pick up trash, cut grass, etc.  Now, would you want everyone else walking or otherwise mussing the grass if you were the one cutting and landscaping it?

4.  People will refer to me as Muzungu.  This connotes "white person" when used.  But, its literal meaning is to spin in place.  First, its awesome that there is one simple word for this activity, but second, it refers to the idea that people getting off the airplane or bus will stand in one spot and look all around trying to read things or generally figure out where they are and where they should be going.  Sounds about right.

So, you see, its a good blog.