Saturday, June 13, 2009

The King and I

Today we went to Eastern Rwanda to visit the king's "palace" and the National Museum of Rwanda. After waking up at 6am we ate a quick breakfast and set off on our trip. After three hours of winding roads and sitting with my head periodically falling back against the head rest, we reached the king's residence.

As I got off the bus, I heard that the king had been exiled. He was in Paris during the Genocide and is now living in Washington D.C. There has been a running joke since my luggage was first lost that I would not have decent clothes for my meeting with the king. I was disappointed that when I reached his home the king was not there. In his place were huts reconstructed to represent the traditional dwellings of the king. We were not allowed to take pictures in certain parts of the home. The main house which was built in the 1930's, seemed very ordinary to my American eyes and I am still wondering why we could not photograph this ordinary structure. Was the beer cellar a great innovation that should only cross the Rwandan borders in the minds of tourists?

The National Museum of Rwanda has four fairly large rooms composed of typical African artifacts and a great many maps. The museum has woven baskets, photographs, currency, paintings, and maps. The musuem maintained its ordinary record when I decided that either the trinkets in America are all exported from Rwanda, or the same Chinese supplier makes the products sold in New York and Rwanda.

After the museum we had lunch and a technology session where we learned a few things including how to add additional programs to many laptops at the same time. There was a tray with fuit on it and I took all the options including a small green fuit that resembled a lemon. I decided to try it. Instead of the strange tropical fruit that I was expecting, it was in fact a lemon.

This evening I brought my XO laptop outside to the patio of the hotel with the intention of going outside to check my e-mail, when I noticed a few young children looking at me. They were not only looking at me because of my fair skin, but because of the green toy in my hand. The laptop attracted their attention, yet they still did not come up to me. I approcahed them and asked if they wanted to play with the laptop.

One student had his own laptop at school because his primary school had been selected by the government for funding. He was fairly proficint and showed me a few of the programs that he uses. I sat down next to his mother and in between helping him, I found out that she is a teacher at a private primary school in the Kigali area. She teaches French, Kinyarwanda, and math to primary school children. A few more kids came and the laptop was rotated until they had to leave.


  1. Hi Eli and James,

    I am sorry for not getting your emails, and I want to thank you for helping me have more insight into the program and for answering all the questions, and yes for putting up with me. Your blog is great, and thanks for updating it everyday because it gives us an idea of what's going and how the training program is going. Goodluck with everything, and please if you need any help that I can provide do not hesitate.