We hope everyone is doing well. We sure are. Aside from the short-lived tummy troubles, we are enjoying abundant rain and consequently abundant lab work, which makes the data oh so rich and creamy.
On Saturday we visited the National Museum of Rwanda, which is located in the south of the country, in Butare. We had a 3.5 hour drive to get there, but it went by quickly (as did the country) because there was so much diverse scenery to take in: agriculture, more agriculture, and even more agriculture, but of different crops in different climatic zones and soil types. I enjoyed this thoroughly. We saw the headwaters of the Nile (before it even reaches Lake Victoria), which was quite turbid, and the entire floodplain was covered in farm fields. So far, this is completely in line with the rest of the country that we have seen; all agriculture.
The museum visit was striking, as the subsistence groups of pre-colonial times were alive only 100 years ago. We saw all sorts of objects that are still in use today in the rural areas.
Sunday and today (Monday) we spent collecting samples and running them in the lab. The guy who sweeps the floor at Electrogaz, the utility company, must unplug a lot of cords when he is working, because we endured many power outages today, and had to heat our incubator with hot water bottles. This morning we had another tribulation, as our meeting with the mayor of Musanze district went something like this:
0715- Met Mayor
0717- John-Peter explained our work
0724- Mayor asked if we had a research permit
0724- No, we didn’t
0724- Apparently, we needed one from the National Statistics Institute
0729- Mayor informed us he had another meeting
0730- John-Peter re-iterated that we had permission from the government agency with whom we work
0733- Mayor invited us to come again
0735- Conclusion of meeting
We found out three minutes later that the mayor was going on holiday for two weeks, starting tomorrow, but that if we did not meet with him it would be a great insult.
But, so goes it here. Our co-worker here, John Peter, is a fantastic program manager, and is able to guide us through the red tape and language barriers.
Our days here are quickly drying up, but thankfully, our samples are not… because we heated them with water bottles. Anyhoo, we hope everyone back in the States is well, and enjoying the northern hemisphere. We will be back soon, to share all the germs we gathered from the wonderful, cute, sickly children.
Bernie and Kelly