Monday, June 30, 2008

Fire hydrant ..., sewer system..., Italian restaurant..., and Theater

Fire hydrant .... Fire plug
(picture 1: fire hydrant ... red pipe nearby the road, picture 2: fire hydrant )
Hello, MURAHO everybody (MURAHO: Greeting in Kinyarwanda language, it is like hi in English). I am again back on my trail with new stories, I am sure you have been visiting, others checking to see if anything new was posted. Now it is the time to have one. Let me start by something technical that will be about two Environmental Health components that we haven’t effectively developed in Rwanda… America has reached very far and beyond our expectations. I understand that we cannot compare Rwanda to America but we should all the times remember that what is seen America started somewhere … and somewhere worse – back in colonial period. Committed and dedicated people worked very hard to turn the whole story and made America what it is today. We should be convinced that it can also happen in our African countries … it takes time but we should not seat and think that development will fall from the heaven. Back to the environmental health component I would like to share with you today’s experience … Disaster and Emergency preparedness … Rwanda disaster management policy states that Disaster context in Rwanda is mainly linked with natural, man-made and mixed disasters … There are also disasters resulting from epidemics, road accidents, forest fires and social conflicts (Disaster management policy, 2002). Here I would like to insist to fire. Some people can classify it among man-made disasters … In America they have fire hydrant colloquially known as fire plug. There are installed nearby the roads and free to use by anybody who is experiencing fire problems. As you can see them on the picture the first time I saw them I was like Ohhh Look how American water supply systems look like!!!!??? But deep in my critical thinking … I couldn’t classify such pipes due to the way they are designed among water supply pipes I knew. After being confused, the only option to get solution was to ask a familiar guy in order to get the right usage of them … then I asked my friend Sean and he told me those are fire hydrant ... there are where you saw them to help anybody in case of fire accident and they are free of charge … Having in mind how this things are expensive according to what I had in Rwanda while radio was broadcasting about expensive fire engineers bought for Kigali International airport. This means also that the product they are carrying is expensive too and surprisingly that product is free of charge in America!?!

Sewer system
picture 3: sewer system inspection chamber)
The second environmental health component is sewerage management systems. Here I am not going in details but I would like at least to understand when the Hanover sewer system was established in 1976 as you can read it on the picture … In America there is good excreta management system. Sewage from all houses around the quarter and the whole city is driven through sewers up to the treatment site… I wish I will visit one and see how it operates. I have seen some in Rwanda but this are not for the whole city or town only a number of houses in some quarters …. If we have a look to the figures and compare what an American citizen produce like greywater (Sewage from the kitchen, laundry and bathroom (but not the toilet) which is 206 L/Cap/Day and people living in poor areas 20 – 30 L / Cap/Day (Mirjam Geurts, fact sheet on sanitation, 2005). You can then imagine what the situation will be for the sewerage.

Having lunch in Italian restaurant
(picture 4: food we had for lunch, picture 5 :John Peter naerby the cooking stove))

Strait to the amazing story of today… I had my launch in Three Tomatoes Wood Fired Trattoria, a restaurant in Lebanon, New Hampshire. I was received and invited by Clauson, father of Sean and Laura, people that we worked together in Rwanda and became good friends. It is good to make friends from different parts of the world because you never know where you will be tomorrow … we met in Rwanda and we are together in USA. The first time I met Laura and Sean was in December 2006. They were driving to Bisate Health Center. One year and half later, we are together in USA and I met their whole family. I am sure that the first time we met none of us couldn’t imagine that this will happen … the time determines what our souls and minds cannot pretend for the future. We had vegetarian pizza and salad. I have to add on that this restaurant is an Italian one and well known in Lebanon - New Hampshire. Veronica, the Italian researcher we worked together within Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, can love to always attend such restaurant if this was located in Rwanda. My greetings to her and I enjoyed to have Italian food for my today’s lunch.

Theater... watching movie
(In front of the theater before we went in to watch the movie)

It was a beautiful sunset to see that coincides with the time that we were from the theater to watch movie “New Indiana Johns”. The movie lasted 2:30. The theater is a great place and it was my first time to be in one. While getting inside, I realized that many movies where projected at the same time and each person goes to a room corresponding with the movie he paid. I enjoyed the movie and after we went home. All the time that we visit a place that appears new to me, I immediately searched in my mind to try to see if there is any place in Rwanda I can compare to. The theater I saw cannot be compared to any place in Rwanda. Even if we take one single thing “Screen”. The screen is too big and it cannot fit in any of movies rooms in Kigali.

About June 28 - 30, 2008 ... Continuous story

June 28, 2008

(Picture 1: My friend's family house)

Certainly you have been asking yourself too many questions about me e.g. Where am I leaving? How am I getting used to the new life style of USA citizens? … Here are some responses to your curiosities. This morning I am going to try to answer some of your questions and hope you will be satisfied. After landing at Logan Airport and being received by a friend, we moved to the diner restaurant within Logan airport house and had something to eat. It was too complicated to me to find a name of at least one sort of food that I know. The Americans have a large list of them. By chance I fell on one with the name of fried fish and French fries. Oh I knew this, murmured inside. I told my friend that this food I will have and he ordered a drink for me that was Ginger ale, which is non alcoholic and soft drink. It was cold with ice in it. Americans like cold drinks and that is their habit. Up to me, I have to run because I am from a tropical country and we are not used to ice too much. My food appeared and … you can guest what it was looking like. Food with yellow color, deposited on newspaper within a metal basket ... the first impressions were that the food was too much but I tried all my best to finish it and decided that was the first and last time that I order it. We drove home and we were received with a warm hug from Mum. I immediately told her that I am vegetarian and she asked since when and I responded that it was since I stepped out from Logan International Airport. I am really learning … after being surprised by automatically flush toilets at Logan airport; I was surprised by the way my friends’ house is built. They didn’t use bricks, cement, concrete, sand etc as we knew the African construction style. The house was built by special timbers and I have had that it is more than 97 years old… it is amusing and touching… it is very difficult for us in Rwanda to do so and expect a such durability. I was showed around the kitchen, room, toilets and … after we had diner, went to sleep … I was very tired … I was opening my eyes very hardly. The following day, June 28, 2008 my friend took me for a walk in the city and the main objectives were to see around and open a bank account. The city is beautiful, it is amusing, it is spotless… after opening my bank account I visited one of the universities in the city, its library, and walked around students hostels … etc There is no anyway that these people could not be intelligent … having all equipments needed and enough books for everybody and every course… We passed by baseball ground under construction and had a time to see the underground (sport ground) water drainage system that I remembered have learned it in theories. From there we visited a food store. It is too big, full of all kind of food you can imagine: cooked food, fresh food, variety of milk fat concentration, variety of vegetarian food, variety of meat, etc. I have even seen such food store in my life, it was my first time. We arrived home tired and took a rest before having the first diner with the whole family members. The diner was great and I was enjoying my vegetarian food.

June 29, 2008
(picture 2: with friends in pub watching the final game)

June 29, 2008 was Sunday and church day for Roman Catholic Church, I woke up early in the morning and started to design my blog and imagine how it will look like, and what will be the content of it, asking myself what can interest people to read my blog etc. This was done during morning hour and afternoon I went to watch soccer, the final game opposing Spain to Germany. The game started 2:45 pm local time of where I am leaving and 8:45 pm of Rwanda time. I was surprised by the big number of people I have seen where the match was shown. Normally the Americans preferences in terms of sport exclude soccer. Their prefer baseball, American football, hockey, basketball etc and other games that I have ever seen. Spain beat Germany: 1-0. During the game we have been waiting Germans to equalize but they couldn’t and the final turned bad for them, they went back without the cup…. It was sad to see them crying when the last whistle of the game blew. Anywhere it happens and when two men are fighting there is all the times the winner and the loser. I am posting this blog information in middle of the night. I was supposed to be sleeping but it happens that I am seating and writing down what is going on around me … the new explorations … I am really encouraged and driven by something that I will know later or ever know … May be I was born so and I didn’t realized that before … and this is the time …. Today I received an amusing email from the program director of the master’s program that I will be following stating that he will be my Advisor. I couldn’t believe my eyes that such knowledgeable and intelligent man wanted to be my advisor. I am certainly having a good beginning, a wonderful starting … I will learn a lot of things from him and I am convinced that I will make it happen.

June 30, 2008
(Picture 3: Jean Pierre surprised and admiring an American motorcycle)

What to say today and what to ignore? What to jump on? The most surprising story I have is from the email I received from my former lecturer and advisor in Rwanda, Dr. Njunwa Kato Jonas. All the times we have been together I learned new things from him. He is special, he is quite, focused, and objective. He is serious with everything even what we, in common way, call simple. He have been there for me, while I was down, discouraged, tangled up, confused…. He always showed me the clear ways to overcome difficulties and he continuing to do so. Here is the email he wrote to me, after he read the email I sent to my different friends about my trip to USA.

Dear Pierre,

Thank you so much for the self explanatory description of your trip to Boston. I am so pleased that you eventually reached MIT. As we discussed please do extra time and aspire to have research publications as you work, even if they arise from review of papers in your area of specialty. It is the publications that shall make you a professor which I pray that you should become. To be honest to you from my experience with several people, you have the capacity which is very high and that should be invested in innovation (which demand for good understanding, determination, and a high level of sacrifice of most worldly affairs on ones part). Innovativeness does not go with excessive leisure, excessive indulgence, and seeing books and mind boggling challenges as nightmares or misery, but as very great opportunities which give you joy, happiness and fulfillment while others fail to understand what is going on inside you! Eventually you shine like a star and I can say what you have just see with your eyes as something amusing to you (e.g.. flying in the plain, seeing new places etc), they are a reward for your great effort and for your PATIENCE (i.e. long suffering) and that is only the beginning of seeing great things, only that do not slow your speed of performance.
Finally, let me give you a few sayings:
1.0 Chase your passion not your pension. (By Denis Waitley)
2.0 Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds you plant.. (By Robert Louis Stevenson)
3.0 It is better light a candle than to curse the darkness (Chinese saying)
4.0 Your ATTITUDE not your APTITUDE, will determine your ALTITUDE. (By Zig Ziglar). That is it is your CHARACTER that will keep you where your aptitude takes you.

All the best


Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Trip to Boston, USA

Kigali Internation Airport: (Picture 1: with friends at Kigali Intertional Airport before my flight)
The time was running very fast and it was hard to get off friends and parents. Check in passed on smoothly and then I found myself in room waiting for my flight. The passages moving with Rwanda air express were the first to join their flight and then we were the followings. It was amusing to get inside the airplane and see how it looks like. Let me say that it is an amusing place where you are obliged to get thin in order to fit your body in the seat especially for those who are fat or taller than the normal size of humans. On the airplane I was seating in 21B for those who flew to some can get well what I am talking about. I was saved and my legs were lying on the middle ways of the airplane. On my flight I meet a cool guy whom we were seating together and his names are LEE OKOTH from Kenya. He is an account manager of a Kenyan company which the client is willing to come to invest in Rwanda. When He was in Rwanda, Lee visited Rwanda Investment and Export Promotion Agency (RIEPA). We charted a lot and he even told me that himself has enjoyed being in Rwanda and will love to be back. When we were saved food he told me that I have right to anything I wanted especially beers and wine and I could have as many as I desire. It was lovely to be with him on my flight because he was familiar with everything going around.

Bujumbura Airport: (Picture: 2 Bujumbura international airport)

The trip was really wonderful; we have even flown though Burundi and even landed to Bujumbura to get some Kenya Airways clients including the vice president of the republic of Burundi. It was amusing to see how he is respected and protected to get on our flight. Even though amusing, it is always very dangerous to be at the same flight with the very much needed people like authorities in a country without peace like Burundi and land and fly from there peacefully … it is something we can sometimes not expect all the times but that day we had a great chance and we safely left Bujumbura airport.

Nairobi Airport: (Picture 3: Jomo Kenyatta International Airport)

When I arrived in Nairobi, Lee was my guide to show me around and to tell me where I look for the get when my flight to Amsterdam will be closer. It was amusing, encouraging being with him on my flight. You can yourself understand that I was immediately used to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport like a native of Kenya. At Kenyatta airport, I tried several shops and things were expensive. Even expensive I tried to buy a watch and the cost of it surprised me. I couldn’t believe my eyes that such kind of watch can be that much money, $67. I was in a need of it, and then I paid my expensive watch and wear it in order to not be rate at 22:05 in night while I will be flying for Amsterdam airport. I considered the most important thing to get, for everything to be done smoothly. After buying the watch, I kept going on visiting shops to shops, places to others and suddenly I found myself in a place named Nairobi Java House. A place like the coffee shop located in Union Trade Center the famous commercial building in Kigali City. Things were also expensive and got a vegetarian food for my diner at $10 including a drink. I was surprised by the cost of $2 per bottle to get a sprite. Normally in Rwanda you can get at least at $1. It is really very good to travel and have an idea of how other people are living. It is certainly difficult to you to understand how I was feeling while waiting for my flight to Amsterdam in Nairobi airport. After having diner, I bought chocolate nuts that I assumed to take me busy for the 10 hours that I was supposed to stay in Kenyatta International Airport. The most amusing thing is that I was with my laptop and wireless internet connection was available in the waiting halls of Kenyatta International Airport.

Amsterdam Airport:

After a long flight during the whole night, I arrived at Amsterdam Airport in Europe. I left Nairobi with KLM, a Dutch airplane company at 7:45 in night and we arrived in Amsterdam in morning at 5:30 after 10 Hours of flight. It was very difficult to see outside through the window. I was seating in middle of two guys, one was from Canada and other was taller and quite. He seemed like he was tangled up by something that I didn’t know. Anywhere the fact is that we sat together for all the 10 Hours. We were fed many times on the airplane that I couldn’t remember. The only thing that comes back into my mind is how I was drinking red wine so that I may fall sleep but I couldn’t. The airplane seats are to small compared to my thickness and tallness … I was reduced in small man in order to fit in them. It is very difficult to figure for you how big schiphol Amsterdam is if you ever flew there. But I am going to try my best for you to understand how big it is. Imagine an airport linking the whole continents of the world: Europe, Africa, America, Asia, South America, and islands etc. if you want to be in touch with the world in few minutes and alive, you have to go to Amsterdam Airport. An example can even be from me who has been in touch with different people e.g. priest from Kenya, young guy from German, young girls from America and two old people from India. You can then figure out the continents I interacted with in that short time. Surprisingly I was considered like the most familiar guy among all where we were sitting waiting to fly to Boston. People were coming to me and ask me to explain to them some issues they did not understand or even asking me to show to the where the toilets were. That is the importance of being a French and English speaker at once, it is very easier to interact, communicate and chart with others anywhere you can be in the world. If I continue to tell you about Amsterdam Airport, I will jump to the un-common thing we find there; which is the number of airplanes landing to and flying from. I tried to count them but I couldn’t be able. The Airport has several runways where airplane land to and fly from. There are differently distributed and it is impossible to see all the ways in at the same time.
Logan Airport :

I was excited to see how Logan International Airport looks like and may be compare it with Amsterdam Airport or other airports where I stopped over to while coming to Boston. In the airplane, we received customers’ forms and immigration forms to be felt before to enter USA. The forms where clear to understand for those who are able to read and understand English, and they were also translated in other languages like French and Dutch, to help in case of difference in languages. Though this forms you clearly seen how America is the country of rules and lows, and how everything is in order. The forms asked about several questions up to the questions regarding fresh food, meat, and even seeds. I was asking myself if it can be possible that someone travel with fresh meat in his bag??!! I think we should wait when Lions, leopards, and other animals who are meat-eater will start to travel and check for fresh meat. For sure fresh meat will be their favorite food to travel with and it is also the only food option that they have. It is very difficult again to express the joy and happiness I was feeling inside. It is really good to work hard and get things done, ever give up, persist and be dedicated and committed to whatever job or activity your doing. I have been able to be admitted in Massachusetts Institute of Technology because I have been dedicated to my university studies and has been the first student and finally received a government scholarship as an award to my academic excellences.
Commitment and dedication at working place helped me to achieve successfully water accessibility program I initiated while working with Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International in Rwanda.The behavior of not giving up and being persistent helped me to follow up with my scholarship case within Student Financing Agency of Rwanda, to apply for other open scholarship within MIT and guess what, I was able to raise the funds that will help me to stay in MIT for 2 Years. I am sorry for not being logically on the same trail while telling this story, because I am having good ideas at the same time that I feel like I can be telling you at ounce. Back to my trip to Boston, I can really tell you how sad I was while we were landing to Logan International Airport. I couldn’t be able to take any picture because my digital camera was out of batteries. After 7Hours and 30 minutes of flight from Amsterdam we landed to Logan International Airport, I was in Boston. As I told you earlier, we were given immigration documents to feel up. I felt all of them while we were still on our flight from Amsterdam. At Logan Airport we were separated with US Citizens, I was with other foreigners on a separate inspection point. When I arrived in front of the police man I showed the documents that were giving me the permission to enter USA: passport, I-20 document and the immigration forms. The police man took my finger print starting by four fingers of my right hand, thumb of my right hand and then he came to my left hand and did the same as for the right one. After that, he took my picture with a camera attached to his computer. He controlled and verified the originality of my documents, after this he stamped in my passport and attached another paper in it and let me in. I was then admitted to enter and stay in USA for 2 years as it is started by my student visa. I went out by the door he showed me and while I turned I found my two bags waiting for me. I took them and continued to the second inspection where my bags where scanned. After this second inspection, I was done and it was the right time to get out of Logan International Airport.

LifeEngine Clean Water Project

LifeEngine Clean Water Project
Testing Water Filtration Technology in Bisate Village