Updates from Rob and Jan Hoy’s trip to Rwanda November 2014!
Sunday 16th November
Today started cooler but now the sun is awake. We have had a real mixture of weather but the thunder has not yet exceeded that in Lewes the week before we left for Rwanda.
Our first impression of Kigali is of more change and development. This is apparent immediately you step off the plane as the airport has been transformed. Unfortunately some of the changes are a little disappointing eg BBC website has been blocked so no daily fix of The Archers! However, the threat of Ebola is taken very seriously and everyone is checked, regardless of where they are from.
We have eased into our programme in a very sociable way. Yesterday we visited the family of Alex Ntung with Peter Nsabimana who helped translate. Peter has travelled from his home in Nyanza for the weekend, leaving his young wife, Peruth, and premature baby daughter behind. Alex’s family were so generous with their welcome and gave us gifts, including a walking stick and ‘elder’s’ hat for the ‘muzahe’, pronounced ‘moozayhe’, meaning ‘old man’. They certainly have a sense of humour. Our friend Tedy Kobasinge has joined us too.
Tomorrow we welcome John & Gill Griffith, founders of The Safe Water Trust and Aquafilter developers. They are making an “expert visit” on behalf of Rotary International who are funding the filter study here in Kigali. We also eagerly await the arrival of Jonathan Lamb & Bishopp Amooti from Cyangugu and Ian & Mary Hempshall and Judy Yeomans from Lewes, all joining us later in the week. This is in time for Ian’s birthday celebration on Friday (keep that a secret), so it is not all work and no play!
We leave Kigali and head south for Kamembe on Saturday and will be staying at Peace Guest House on the shores of Lake Kivu. Before then, we hope to make progress with the filter studies and follow up various possibilities for distributing filters more widely……so, back to work……for now!
Thank you for your encouragement, interest and support. The Muzahe of Hoy & his Mrs.
Sunday 23rd November
This week our focus has been the Aquafilter Studies in Kigali. We have made random, unannounced visits to the homes using the filters and sampled their water before and after filtering. These are always moving encounters. One lady said her children have not had diarrhoea since she started filtering their water. Another brought us a tray of mangoes from her harvest as a big thank you. The children gather around us, playfully tossing English words and big smiles at us. Of course all this is just anecdotal, so the real evidence is yet to come from the year long filter study underway. We are very optimistic!
This week John & Gill Griffith have received a report from a DFID funded study in Haiti. This study gave 200 prototype “emergency” aquafilters to 3 groups of people, one group with full training, one with minimal training and one with no training at all. This was to see which group managed best. The study revealed that those with no training at all did just as well as the others. Also recipients organised themselves into groups to share the benefits – all very encouraging as it means, for example, the filters could be dropped into emergency zones from helicopters.
We are now at Peace Guest House in Cyangugu. Our journey was unexpectedly lengthened by the Tour de Rwanda cycle race. We arrived in the dark and so Judy had a pleasant surprise when she awoke this morning to the beautiful and tranquil setting of the guest house – true to its name.
During this coming week we hope to visit the new rainwater harvesting schemes implemented since our last visit. We will also be meeting the local authorities to begin a project of providing safe drinking water to Nkombo Island. Some Congolese Pastors will visit us too, giving feedback on the 80 or so filters they have distributed to remote villages in the Congo.
It rained so hard one morning that even the dawn chorus stayed in bed. The phrase, “we must go NOW because it is to rain”, has taken on a new significance!
Thank you. God Bless, Rob & Jan.
Sunday 30th November
The Inspector Calls! ….at St Peter’s Technical School, Cyimbogo!
Fortunately, this is good news as we are very happy with the quality of work at a new rain water harvesting scheme to serve the technical school, church and community at Cyimbogo. At the school, the scheme provides 10 tanks, storing 20,900 gallons of water, and at the church in the town, 2 tanks storing 4,400 gallons of water. With the addition of four Aquafilters and several tap stands for hand washing, the scheme will also provide safe drinking water (www.Grifaid.org).
On Tuesday, we visited Nkombo Island with John & Gill Griffiths, before they left us on Wednesday for their project in Kenya. We attended the MU feeding clinic and trained 18 community representatives on the use of Aquafilters. These folk will in turn train others in readiness for the 400 filters arriving, hopefully, in January. This is a pilot project for assessing the appropriateness of Aquafilters to meet the needs of the entire population of the island (about 18,000 people).
During the week several visits were made within Cyangugu. It is a joy to see folk again; some we have known since January 2007 and were beneficiaries of the home building projects undertaken by teams from Southover Church – and include household rainwater harvesting systems, of course!
Yesterday we travelled to Kibogoro (approx 5000 feet above sea level) on the shore of Lake Kivu, on a very attractive peninsula, about 45 miles north of Cyangugu. The roads have now been tarmaced, reducing the travel time to reach there to 90 minutes or so in engineer Basile Musonera’s car. The visit was to the Free Methodist Church, where we were first taken in 2013 by our friend Peter Nsabimana, as they have a problem of flooding caused by rainwater from the huge church roof. A post graduate student from engineering company Mott Macdonald has proposed some alternative solutions to overcome this. However, there is a conflict between their two opposing needs: full tanks supplying rain water & empty tanks needed for flood alleviation!
On Tuesday we will begin our homeward journey.
Ngaho! (Bye for now)