Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Few Comments about the Day-to-Day

  • UOB is located in the downtown area on the western side of the city.  I live on the eastern side of the city near the national football stadium.  (See the links section on the right hand side for a link to an annotated map that I will routinely update as my trip and excursions continue.)  I carpool in to work with a co-worker and usually take a motorcycle taxi home at night. 
  • Kigali is generally laid out with nice paved roads running along the spine of each of its many hills.  Once you start down each hill away from the central paved roadways, the streets are an incredibly rough and uneven combination of dirt and rock.  The water runoff down the hills makes any better road conditions seemingly impossible.  As you leave the commercial areas found along side the paved areas, the hillsides are generally all residential (except for small general stores and the occasional butcher), and the further down the hills you go the poorer and less developed the homes and communities.  
  • Our house appears to be very typical for Kigali’s professional class.  It’s a basic one-story home with several bedrooms and bathrooms, but no a/c, land line, TV, etc.  There is a modest yard that is surrounded by an 8 ft. fence and a locked gate at the end of the driveway.  In addition to the fence, a “guard” is on premises outside the house 24/7.  While professional personnel protect some homes, our rotating crew of guards are just Rwandan males looking for an extra source of income.  They also help out with chores around the yard and house.
  • The food is dominated by rice and potatoes.  Every meal features a beautiful range of colors, primarily spanning from dark tan to light brown.  The base of a traditional meal is usually both of the starches mentioned previously.  Then, there is a stew/meat sauce (typically incredibly overcooked chicken, beef, fish, or goat) that is served over it.  As most of you know, I have never shied away from a diet focused heavily on white starches and various proteins, but I can already tell that essentially eating basically the exact same meal twice a day nearly everyday is going to be an adjustment.
  • A lunch consisting of the previously described is served buffet-style everyday at the bank for the employees.  Mondays and Fridays at work begin with a one-hour devotional period featuring singing and a brief Bible lesson.  The UOB choir is featured in a couple photos in one of the albums.
  • My first significant project with the Bank is going to be to help them revise and in some areas develop their detailed standard operating procedures.  This will be particularly beneficial to me, as it will give me a detailed understanding of all the major segments of the bank that I will be able to utilize with our start-up in Brazzaville.

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