- Man, I'm getting older. When 'young' you see those 'older people' that have cars, houses, proper salaries, etc. The guys in Buja had this - and I am of that age now. I never really notice it; I'm a PhD student and thus still study and don't really have a salary. I also live in New York where most people rent and live in small apartments. But people of my age are getting married, start making babies, getting mortgages, etc. I never really thought of that until Buja. Scary.
- On the way to Bujumbura we drove through Uvira, a territoire of Sud Kivu in DR Congo. The car drove over 100km per hour on roads where one really should not do that. The reason was for security. I don't know how much of it is true but the driver told us that different groups (Mai-Mai, Banyamulenge from Uvira's Haut plateau, etc.) have a tendency to high-jack cars on that road. I am not sure what was more frightening the idea of being ambushed or the car being high-jacked, or the driver driving 100+ km an hour. :)
- On the way to Bujumbura we also drove through the town of Sange, where about two months ago a truck caught fire and killed over 230 people (here). Congolese friends sent horrible pictures in the days after that. The burned-out truck was still there; as a horrible monument to the disaster.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
No, we're not going nuts. Raul and I work a lot at home. It's a bit unsocial but we are much more productive when we do not work at the office; at home there are no people around to shake your hand, there are no people that start talking to you, etc. However, in Bukavu there are a lot of crows; and they are noisy. They scream a lot. Moreover, we hear them walking/jumping on the roof; indeed, the tin roof-plates do not help with that. On average there are two of them in the garden and one on the roof and it's (really) annoying when you try to concentrate; something we do once in a while.
Monday, August 23, 2010
- Us presenting the project itself (goal of the evaluation, why a behavioral measure, etc.);
- Preparing and training from hardcopies;
- Training on how to use a PDA (most of the forms will be filled out on PDAs: saving literally 100,000s of pages and decreasing data-entry mistakes);
- Training how to use the GPS devices we'll give them;
- Training on how to drive a motorbike;
- Training the supervisors on how to use the laptops we'll give them to upload the data;
- And all of this should be combined with discussions, games, etc.
Friday, August 20, 2010
- My hair was cut the day before yesterday by... myself. Because we don't trust Congolese hairdressers (we have muzungu-hair), we bought ourselves a 2-dollar scissor. Result? Well, there is a reason why you don't see me on the pictures above. ;)
- I miss taking a shower. It is not that I miss the consistent flow of warm water over my body, but normally during those few minutes underneath a shower I have my best ideas. Unfortunately, these days I am too busy throwing water from the bucket over my head to think. Anybody a suggestion?
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Last Friday we threw a party at IRC Golf 8; our house. Grant would leave the next day; back to New York. After working together for over a month we are really sad to see him leave. I know this sounds lame, but it's true; Raul, Grant and I formed a great team. In addition, Macartan who had been in town for over two weeks would leave the Monday after the party. Macartan in town means hard work, but also learning lots. He is a really special professor. He gives Raul and me lots of responsibilities and as a result we're motivated and work hard. We (of course) also make mistakes, which he knows and then spends lots of time (much more than if he would have done it himself) explaining how things can be done better. We learn so much that way! Next to that it is great to have breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks with one's professor and talk about other things than work. Finally, Grant had his birthday early August, Vera (our housemate) mid-August, and Raul and me have our birthdays the end of August. Reasons enough for a party, no? So we hired a Congolese band and with well over 60 people – from the IRC, different other NGOs, MONUC, the security guards, IRC drivers, etc. – we danced until early in the morning.
Great people (fltr: Grant, Guillaume, Stephanie, Raul, me, Vera, Macartan, JB).
Conference (part 2)
Over the last few days I was able to get hold of a few more conference (August 6 & 7, see previous post) pictures:
Thursday, August 12, 2010
- IRC and Care presented their work
- The Columbia Team presented the evaluation (yes, I gave a presentation in French)
- We all went over the hypotheses
- We discussed the quality (and the feasibility) of the measures to answer these hypotheses
- The Columbia Team provided the timeline (which villages when) and together we discussed its feasibility
Monday, August 2, 2010
Monday I took some hours off from work to go to Bukavu's Cathedral Notre Dame de la Paix (Our Lady of Peace) – the largest church in Bukavu and also the Archbishop’s seat. I was invited by a friend - Amuli - who was ordained as priest the day before and Monday he gave his first full-fledged ceremony. It was quite a happening; there were lots of people, part of the ceremony was that Amuli baptized 3 babies, there was lots of music and thus also a lot of singing and dancing. I also tried the latter. I really tried; but failed considerably. Take clapping one’s hands. This should be easy; one listens to the music and claps along. Not so for a Dutch guy: I mechanically moved my hands sideways and then calculated how much time it takes before they need to be back again in order to clap at the same time as the people that were standing next to me. Anyhow, it was a beautiful ceremony, I had a great time and am very impressed by Amuli.