Posted by: DHE Rwanda | August 18, 2011

The Banda Chronicles, Vol. 3: Any Pants in a Storm

Fortunately for me, my shorts at least dried out by the next day, so I was not forced to go pantsless on our next excursion. Ever helpful, the village had identified a couple of sites they thought night be suitable for implementing a microgrid, so we got up at 7 (blah) to trek around the hills with a troop of villagers, as well as Sarah and Jarod. They had two sites in mind, but it turned out that neither was practical for electrifying Banda. The first was about 45 minutes’ walk from Banda and might have been about right for a cross-flow turbine, but wasn’t practical for our purposes. The second one, it transpired, was practically all the way back into Murambi, so we wrote that one off as well. That afternoon, we returned to Nyiragasigo to determine what repairs needed to be undertaken and explore potential for expansion, along with Elise, Thomas, Theogene, a villager named either Roland or Laurent (Rwandans tend to mix up r’s and l’s, so it was hard to tell which), and the usual gaggle of spectating toddlers. The path up was still slick from the previous day’s rain, and we could see why the villagers weren’t exactly stoked about using the site, even when it worked perfectly. Here’s why.

Mad slippery.

Imagine trying to walk up or down this. Not too bad, right? Now imagine doing it after, or worse yet, during one of those torrential African downpours. Now imagine trying to do it while carrying a fifty pound, acid-filled hunk of metal and you’ll have a pretty good idea of the villagers’ objections.On our last visit to the site, following one of these deluges, Ted, Emily and I all wiped out on the way down. Then it started to rain yet again, so for the third time in four days we booked it for the guesthouse in sodden clothes over muddy paths. But at least we had a new can of Nido.

Our last day in town was, by and large, uneventful; we met with Pascal to discuss plans for the team’s return in a week, and visited the Friday market. On Saturday, we made the long trek up the hill to get back to the bus station and played a pickup game of ultimate Frisbee with Jeremiah and some of the other friends we’d made that week, then boarded the bus for the five hour bus ride back to Kigali, the first hour of which was nauseating. We weaved back and forth on the crummy forest roads; poor Ted got thrown up on by the girl sitting next to him, and I felt less than stellar myself. But all things must end, good or bad, and soon enough we found ourselves back in Kigali, ready for the next set of adventures.

Wiley

 

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