Thursday, January 27, 2011
I am pleased to wish you a happy new year 2011! May this New Year 2011 bring you fortune, success and prosperity!
Year 2010 was quite interesting and marked different lifetime achievements. It was a memorial year that reminded me of those earlier days when I entered school. I was a very troubled guy, but curious to know and question the drama around me. One of the great memories is when I started primary school. My school teacher was a handicap of poliomyelitis and her two legs were not at the same level. She used an orthopedic support to walk. It was my first time to see a handicap person. I was fascinated by the way she worked, moving her body around, not as I was working. I said to myself that it may be another way that people should work. My two first weeks at school, I will wait her outside of the door and enter after… two feet behind her trying to catch her moves. It was ridiculous, but my teacher did not say a thing to me. My mother was furious to hear the story and suggested my teacher to slap me if I ever repeated the same scenario. My teacher responded quietly “Let him take his time, it will take him a short time to realize that no one else is doing the same and then this will be his time to stop”. Two weeks later, I stopped my drama just as my teacher predicted. This happened in 1987.
Twenty three years later, I am enjoying the wonderful gifts that come with education. I just graduated with a Master of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of the best universities in the world and finished my internship with ICIC, which is an organization affiliated with Harvard Business School. When I was at MIT, I also took a class at Harvard University. This is a life time achievement that I have dedicated to my fellow Rwandans, colleagues at Kigali Health Institute, and Nkumba Seminary School. Most importantly, I dedicated this to my family and my siblings. I remember the war times, being young, running days and nights, not even having any hope of the future, but today I can see that the future holds much for me.
Beside the Master of Science degree, my business idea was featured in Fast Company Magazine, one of the most new ideas publishing magazine in America. I completed my research in Singapore and edited a poster that has recently been presented in a conference in Singapore. I am currently working on a paper for publication. Most importantly, I worked with MIT Development Laboratory to launch their activities in Rwanda. This January 2011 the team that went in Rwanda under this program was hosted by his Excellence the President of Rwanda. I am confident that even during the coming years more teams will go and help the Rwandan people.
In short, any path you may take in this coming year 2011 you have to keep in mind that your commitment, dedication, focus, and hard work are your ultimate strength. There are always downs and ups, but the important thing is how we hold to our objectives and goals. I know that some students who are studying where I have been have many things to complain about e.g. internet is down, our library is small and we cannot get all the books we want, the teacher or professor is not friendly… etc. At the end of the day, you find yourself at the same position you were at in the morning wondering what you have achieved throughout the day. Students at Kigali Health Institute-Nyamishaba Campus and other campuses use efficiently what you have and then complain after realizing that something important is really missing. I am sure that you guys have even more than when I and colleagues were there in 2004-2006. During our time, few books that we had in the library on community behavior change helped us and members of the Environmental Health Club to organize different interventions in Kiziba refugee camp that helped nearly 20,000 refugees living in the camp at the time. In addition, they helped us to succeed in a cholera outbreak intervention in Masaka-Kigali (January 2006). These were our contributions though; you current students have to create yours. I would be happy to chart with some current Nyamishaba-Campus students at 6(2)5(1)3(2)7(1)4(3)3(2)20012(1)5(3)8(1)4(1)6(1)2(1)4(3)5(3)2(3)6(3)6(1) (Hope this is an easy game for your guys …. I am responding to the first 20 emails from KHI-Nyamishaba Campus ending with March 2011).