It's Day 2 and we're off to an orientation with our local water partner, Water for People-Rwanda, here in Kigali. The staff is warm and welcoming. While small in number, only 8 people, they have the huge task of overseeing all of the water projects Kicukiro and Rulindo Districts of Rwanda. Each staff member is very knowledgeable and excited to show us what has been accomplished. Also, they aren't afraid to tell us of the challenges they face...which I appreciate.
For instance, we've been asked to help provide EVERY person in Kicukiro and Rulindo with access to clean drinking water and safe sanitation FOREVER. And for implementation to be complete by 2017. It's ambitious, but we think it can be done. We asked what the biggest challenge of this initiative would be. The local staff said, "The "forever" part is easy. It's the "everyone" that's problematic due to the topography of the land."
The terrain is a logistical challenge. Rwanda is nicknamed "The land of a thousand hills." And Rulindo is proof of that. (In fact, after a 3 hour drive to one of the sites I was convinced it was home to ALL 1,000 hills.)
Rulindo redefines "rural area". With its' extremely steep hills and rough terrain these people could easily be ignored. Many of the villages extend from a ridge top to the bottom of valley, making it more challenging to bring water closer to the people. In fact, we heard that our local partner, and us, have a reputation for "Going where no one will go to give water." That made me proud. We aren't forgetting about ANYONE, regardless of where they live or the added effort it takes to get there.
Next up: A visit to one of our water projects and meeting the people of a Genocide Settlement in Kicukiro!