Sunday, May 17, 2009

Busy weekend

I feeling much better and think I hit my stride; my work is coming together and I am meeting people. I shouldn’t feel too bad because it has only been a week…
Solange, the Owner of Republika Restaurant (very good review in Lonely Planet Guide) allowed me to interview her staff on Friday night before dinner and I learned a great deal about their education and skill level plus training needs. Their English skills varied so I used my rudimentary French, and pointed to things during the interviews. All were professional, enthusiastic and never stopped smiling (especially Claude the headwaiter). Bezo was a trickster and after we spoke went up to Solange and said “I am so good, the lady said I should get a raise!” When Solange told me that and mentioned he asked her for a raise last week we all had a very big laugh.
Fidel, the cashier is in his last year of Law School and speaks excellent English. Since he has a view of everything that goes on in the restaurant, I asked him what he saw as the challenges and he said “language and not being able to establish a relationship with the guests”. So much of the training we will develop will include English as a second language and customer service skills.
On Saturday I attended a Food Fair at the US Consulate. They were booths we native food from the following countries: USA, Belgium, Holland, France, Ethiopia, Russia, South Africa, China, Japan, Italy, Egypt and a few others I cannot remember. I viewed each offering and sampled some things. Many people from the International community as well as locals attended and Amanda introduced to several people. I now have an invitation to a lake picnic with folks from the US Embassy on Memorial Day and the opportunity to attend two different women’s clubs and a book club. I think my social life will pick up and will need to rely on Amanda as much.
I also got my car (Toyota Carnia) on Saturday afternoon and made my first trip to town and the grocery store this AM. I did not stall (even on the hills) and did not get lost. Of course I did this adventure at 7:00 AM so there would be minimal traffic!
I have a busy week planned so stay tuned for posts about my visit to a girls Secondary School (high School), our School site and a road trip to Butare to visit a tin and pottery factory and various Ministry meeting.

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