Friday, July 31, 2009

We started from Kigali at 8:00 AM Wednesday for our adventure/retreat at a guest house on Lake Kivu. It was a two hour drive on the most winding roads I have traveled so far. We stopped to see a water fall but realized it was too steep for us to climb down in street shoes. When we got back to the car it was surrounded by a group of young boys (approximately 8 between the ages of 7-14). Luckily I locked the car and the back window managed to stay up. They wanted us to hear them sing before we left. One had a makeshift instrument made with a toilet float on one end attached to a long stick and wire. Believe it or not, it sounded like a violin. I asked if I could take a picture and they said no (we were told to always ask if it is ok to film someone). We listened for a minute and wanted to leave but they asked for money. We all gave them some coins but they were not happy. Philbert told us when we got in the car that packs of boys like them are always on the lookout for an open car and have probably been involved with the police in the past since they would not allow us to take a photo.

We moved farther down the road and finally saw the Lake and it was beautiful. We drove a short distance around it and drove up a hill to the guest house we were staying (approximately $30.00 per night). During the afternoon we started writing a 5 year strategic Plan for REACH and broke into groups based on our expertise. I was handling the Sales and Marketing components and Executive Summary based on previous materials I have read.

Our rooms were right on the water’s edge with cozy porches leading to the water. We shared a wonderful bottle of Shiraz I brought back from South Africa while watching the sunset and listening to the lapping of the lake. We continued talking through the sunset and into dinner. By 9:00 we were exhausted and headed for our rooms. I slept well and it was the first time I slept under a mosquito net.

I was awakened early by fishermen almost outside my porch netting sardines. Since I was up, I sat and watched the lake alive with fishermen and swimmers.

We continued our work until 3:00 when we went on a boat ride. We walked a two mile circuit around an island and saw beautiful poinsettias growing everywhere.

I begged to go to another restaurant for dinner (four meals in the same place is my limit) so we drove to another hotel on the water for a very bad meal. I will spend another night under my net and think about what we have written for REACH and how the organization continues to save lives through peace and reconciliation.

We met on Friday AM to finalize our sections of the plan and drove back to Kigali for other meetings in the afternoon. Unfortunately car problems delayed us but all things considered, it was a good trip.

It was an honor to be asked to assist REACH in its long term planning and along with Center of Hope I will continue to support them from afar after I leave.

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