By Gavin Sword, KF9 Rwanda
It is no secret that the rainbow is a harbinger of good things ahead. This photo is a view of Rwanda’ capital city, Kigali after a brief rain spell. On my very first day here, a rainbow was a happy sight indeed..
I am happy to report that I have arrived to begin my work here as a Kiva Fellow – my first day is tomorrow. In the meantime, I thought I would (briefly) share some of my impressions thus far.
First, some perspective, I was perusing over the map of Africa in Brussels Airline’s newsy inflight magazine while en route to Kigali and I learned that Rwanda has a population of over 10 million and a landmass of approximately 10,000 square miles. Using a useful web-based tool called “google.com”, I further learned that Rwanda is a bit smaller than Maryland with twice the population.
So, Rwanda is about 100 miles by 100 miles in area – this should bode well for microfinance efforts to reach rural regions since they are relatively close to urban centers. Microfinance is surely needed here as I also learned that the average annual per capital income is just over $US1,000. Ok, no more statistics, onto anecdotes!
Last night I ventured out to a café/bar and enjoyed watching a football match on TV with a room full of football loving Rwandans. Recognizing a foreigner (not hard to spot with reddish/blond hair), several people came up to me to welcome me to Rwanda and asked where I was from, what I was doing in Rwanda and which team I was cheering for. (Deciding allegiance was called for; I am a very newly minted fan of Liverpool’s football squad and was utterly crestfallen to see them lose to Chelsea last night). More seriously, I was genuinely moved by the good-natured, friendliness of the people I met. A kinder welcome to a country one could not hope to have. There truly is a rainbow over Kigali… I am excited to be here and begin my work as a Kiva Fellow!/>