New Living in Rwanda

Lisanne and I spent three days in the dorms at Rwinkwavu before we headed back to Kigali to take care of business. Of course we had to take the bus again, where I am having trouble with my long legs lol. From Kabarondo Station, we took the bus straight to Kigali. The ride was absolute fun because Isa and Lisanne out of nowhere made some friends on the bus, which was really entertaining. As we get on the bus, everyone was staring at us especially at Lisanne and Isa who they usually call Muzungus (white person). Two young ladies with their eyes on us were sitting all the way in the back and welcomed us with a big smile on their faces. While I was looking for a spot to get comfortable, Lisanne started to get to know her new friends. Their expression clearly showed that they haven’t been around Muzungus because they started playing with her hair. As we got close to Kigali they started asking questions about our journey in Rwanda and their passion about basketball. Lisanne shared her music and headphones with them and that made their day.

Making friends on the bus.
Lisanne’s friend on the bus.
As soon as we arrived in Kacyiru we found food, rested a little bit, and then headed into town to set up meetings for the next day. Our priority was to get with the designer and order our Shooting Touch T-Shirts. Lisanne and I contacted Paulin, who is a Shooting Touch member here in Kigali to meet at UTC (Union Trade Center), one of the most popular building in Kigali. We all met in front of the building, then we walked to the designer place who was already there waiting for us. As we walked, we saw different types of stores and most them are clothing stores but most of the time they would hire someone to walk around and sell the products. In French they call them “Marchand Ambulants” and they are working everyday even when it is 90 degrees outside. That is what impresses me the most about the Rwandese. They work as hard as they can, and I really admire them for that.

It started raining a lot but we weren’t surprised at all since it is the raining season. We expect rains every days even if the weather doesn’t show it. Finally we met with the designer, where we spent hours trying to figure which logo should be on the Shooting Touch gear for the 2014-2015 year. Later on we came up with an idea about the new logo and we all agreed to it. The new logo will definitely have a concept based on the Eastern Province site and also the Rwandese Map, which I think is a tradition for Shooting Touch. We asked people’s opinion and most of the feedback we got was positive. By the end of the day we all agreed to it. 300 T-shirts in three different colors were ordered to start with.

Designer
Designer

After a long day all I needed was a quick nap and some basketball, which was already set up by Isa. We sat on the couch watching some Pro A basketball from France and then called it a night. Saturday we returned to Designer place to officially make the order and sign the agreement. It was a good moment and good relief that we got something out of the way. On to the next one!

Sunday we decided to head back East. Unfortunately, I had to be separated from my partners aka Muzungus lol. I finally found a place to stay in Kayonza near the Shooting Touch Site and people welcomed me there, and I was really thankful for that. Our last program between Lis and I for the weekend was to meet with all the Shooting Touch Coaches. They all showed up except Sam and Patrick due to some personal issues. We gathered them in Midland and ordered food for them since they were asked to be there a little bit earlier to avoid late traveling. We introduced ourselves and chatted about life and music before we moved on to the major points. Lis and I gave them every single detail and rule about this year’s program since a new league will begin soon. They listened carefully and they also gave us their point of view of our requirements and we agreed. Around 6 P.M their transportation was ready to roll!

Coaches
Coaches
Meeting with Coaches
Meeting with the Coaches

The sad thing is that my place was across the street and it was that moment that I had to say a quick goodbye to Lisanne. My place is located at the Savannah Motel which is a 5minute walk from the court. And with no hesitation I put my bags in my room and headed outside walking slowly trying to find where important places are located such as stores, pharmacy shops, barbershop, police station, Hospital, Immigration offices… Lucky me! They are not far from me at all. The people are really friendly and the ones across the streets always wave at me, ask how I am doing and how basketball is going. Around 9 P.M. I was getting ready to shower and head to bed but since I am a big eater, I went across the street to buy some snacks for the night. People who know me better would not be surprised if I tell them that the first thing I got was a Mango drink lol.

Monday morning after breakfast I took a walk to the MTN Store to get a modem to provide internet for my computer since there is no wifi around. The MTN guy name Abel helped me out and our communication worked really well because he speaks French. He explained the packages and the timing using the modem but also how difficult it is to get internet in Kayonza.. As we were getting to know each other, I explained to him what I was doing in Rwanda and also the description of Shooting Touch. He promised me to come help and support me by finding me more coaches and more players in Kayonza. Since we are in a process of starting the league, more coaches and kids are needed.

Walking back to my place i met with Elias. I met Elias a few days ago in Nyamirama. I was at a restaurant ordering food after a long day in Kayonza. Elias was the only one who could speak a little bit of English there. After 5 minutes of tough communication in English, I asked him if he spoke French. He just laughed and asked me where I was originally from. I told him Senegal. He started asking questions about the work I’m doing and he volunteered to help in Nyamirama for coaching. Elias is a doctor at the SOS center in Nyamirama and he lives near the site. Good deal!

Kayonza Practice
Kayonza Practice

However, Monday afternoon I had to be in Kayonza at 3:00 for practice. By 2:30 I received a phone call from Thierry who is one of my players saying that they are already on the court ready for practice. I was really surprised and that showed me that the kids are really dedicated and wants to play ball. Around 2:45 I had 5 players but by 3:00 I ended up with 17 players. I had them sign in and put them in two different groups. I started with a scrimmage to evaluate them and see where they are standing in term of developing their skills and also how to separate the ones who are better and the ones who need to get better. After practice I explained about the league and tournaments because I am sure that these things excite them the most. I told them that the jerseys are being made and if anyone miss 3 practices he won’t be able to get a jersey or participate for the games (in my serious face). Some of them  stared at me for few seconds but others had their heads down. The workout was fun and most of the people around stopped by to watch the kids play, which influences the kids to show off.

The next day we had a meeting with the contractor in Gahini for the new court. I invited Lisanne and Isa at Savannah for breakfast before we headed to the meeting since we haven’t been together for almost 4 days. I missed my “Moccos”, and I had to make sure they had a good breakfast because it was about to be a long day with the three musketeers. Entering Gahini we saw 3 police patrol cars on the side stopping mottos and cars for driver license checking. Literally the officer stopped every single motto and car to check their paper work. If you have updated your status then you are good to go. If not you are going to get a ticket and unfortunately our drivers got their ticket because they didn’t renew their license. I liked the officer because it seemed like he knew it was the end of the month and people were getting paid so it was time to get the tickets rolling.

In Gahini the contractor was already there to speak with us. He showed his quotation and also what was needed to be done. we walked on the surface where the court will be built and clearly explained to us the major points for the construction.

Contractor meeting
Contractor meeting in Gahini

Meeting with the contractor
Meeting with the contractor

Then we went back to Kayonza Station where I had to say bye to Lis and Isa again :(, but the good news is I made a new friend. A lizard welcomed me the first day I moved into my room, and since then he comes in around 6 PM when it starts to get darker. Since my friends left me, I named the Lizard Isanne to remember Isa and Lisanne. I didn’t see “Isanne” yesterday which is sad, but I am hoping today I will NOT. In case you didn’t know I HATE Lizards.

The lizard Isanne
The lizard Isanne

Those were the highlights of the week and there are more coming.

God bless you and Thank you for sharing,

Remy

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