We are not impressed
As we are halfway through week 3, we thought it would be nice to include a piece that characterizes a struggle that we have experienced…having no wifi in an environment where wifi is a necessity. The Gardens for Health office in Gasabo is a strange mixture of Rwanda and the U.S. with both running water (most of the time) along with a squat compost toilet, an indoor kitchen with most American amenities and an outdoor kitchen with a wood burning stove, a staff that consists partly of Rwandans and partly of expats. That being said, the office is relatively modern, with working wifi. However, during our first 2 weeks here, the wifi basically didn’t work.
At first we thought this was just Rwanda being Rwanda…like “oh the wifi will be really bad/slow/spotty,” but in reality it was like “you cannot send emails” bad. So more or less for our time in the office, we were doing what we could without access to the internet. The problem with this was that all of our work involves research, collaboration, and communication with the Boston office. For 2 weeks we were pretty lost, unable to do work…basically sitting in the office pretending to be doing our projects. I kid you not, for a good 2-4 hours of our 9 hour work day, we just complained to each other about the wifi not working, along with the rest of the staff.
Finally as this week began, the Wifi became SO bad that the Deputy Director, Kamanda, took action. This is not surprising, as on Tuesday 14 out of the 20 people who work in the Gasabo office left work or did not come to work and instead worked from cafes in Kigali. We were included in that. In the 6 hours we spent working on Tuesday in a nice cafe in Remera…we got more done than we had basically in the rest of our office time. With plans to budget for going to Kigali for internet twice week from that point forward, we returned to find nobody in the office, except a man in a jumpsuit messing with wires. Low and behold, the answer to our prayers had been received. The man in the jumpsuit was a man from Tigo, a wireless/internet/phone/you name it carrier (GHI had previously worked with MTN). We now are not only able to actually accomplish tasks during office hours, but can actually stream live sporting events once work is over (wild!). Stay tuned for an instagram post depicting our wifi struggle of Monday June 13th.