Nobody panic. I'm still alive.
Feeling much better than in my last post. Health is back to normal (minus an Achilles tendon), and I feel like I'm almost, just about, maybe on top of my work. There's a lot of it, but the one I was panicking about most - the really big contract - is to compile a publication for a major international NGO, and everything was sort of in one huge folder with lots of stuff missing, wrongly labeled or in French. Like a nightmare jigsaw puzzle of words and statistics. I wouldn't have been panicking, only the TEDx talk I'm off to do this month knocks about a week out of my available time. On top of that, I'm editing a major e-course on gender-based violence (GBV), which is not the most uplifting subject at the best of times, only now the online editor has started swallowing stuff I'm working on.
The other problem with the first project is that I'm working for someone I hugely respect, and I don't want to mess up. Not that I intend to mess up usually, but it adds an extra layer of pressure. You know, when you want to do a really good job, not just for the money, but to prove you were the right choice for the contract.
Very, very deep breath. Smile. Move forward. Make it look easy.
The picture up top is me giving my TEDx talk in Luxembourg whilst simultaneously tuning a piano in Kigali. Thanks to the joys of pre-recorded technology. Although, it took several attempts to get a good enough recording with my webcam, and to upload over a slightly shonky 3G connection. Got there in the end, though.
I leave for Luxembourg on 22nd, arrive 23rd and participate in the dress rehearsal on 24th, ahead of the actual event on 26th, then leave for the Hague on 27th to recover with a huge quantity of beer.
The last post was going to be titled Mostly Motorbikes, until I got so down about everything. So, returning to that theme...
There was a random exhibition of Royal Enfield motorbikes at PiliPili the other week. Nice to see. They're temporary, but the Rolls-Royce is a permanent feature.
I've also started attending a monthly entrepreneurs' lunch where local business people get together and catch up, talk about stuff like taxes, accounting and advertising. But everyone's really nice, so it's fun, and there's such a diverse range of companies. Also, they change the venue each month, so you get to visit restaurants you haven't been to before. This month was Borneo, which sells huge portions of rice and noodles at very cheap prices, although their GPS pin was pointing to Rwanda Revenue Authority, so three of us ended up standing outside the tax department trying to figure out where we were going.
Last month I met the guy who runs Rwanda Motorcycle company, where they import parts and assemble motorbikes in Rwanda. He offered us free plywood for the pianos, so me and Dés went to take a look at their warehouse. It's out in the industrial free trade zone, which I'd never been to before. Extremely beautiful, set on a hill surrounded by wetland and thick vegetation, but extremely expensive to have a place out there.
|Workhorse for carting goods about the villages.|
|FRW 1.7mil (£1,500) of city bike.|
|The touring model.|
It was really impressive to see, just a shame more of the parts can't be manufactured in Rwanda. That's one of the big problems, importing the materials to make parts often comes to around the same, or more, than importing the parts ready-made. We found the same with the pianos and bass strings.
They invited me to learn to ride a motorbike in their warehouse. I might take them up on that, although a friend did remind me how accident prone I am, so I'd need a good crash helmet.
As I was heading home, I found this stunning Harley parked outside Frulep. A very rare sight in Rwanda and it attracted a lot of attention from passersby, especially the moto drivers.
Went to let off a little bit of steam at Rock Night, which is really quiet nowadays. But friends Sameer and Maja came along, and found Gil and Christian there. Two cool dudes who can really rock an inflatable guitar.
A lot has been going on with the piano. I was going to write about it, but, to be honest, that's what the piano blog is for. So I'll just show this beautiful view from a client's house, and these pretty flowers.
Not quite as big as Moma Mantis, but I found this cute little critter climbing about near my washing machine. I absolutely love these guys. There's something spookily intelligent about them. It's impossible to creep up on a mantis. Apparently they have the ability to turn their heads a full 180 degrees. But just try it, they register motion instantly, and they look at you as though waiting for you to say something. I find them fascinating. I'd love to hold one, but I've never been brave enough. Those guys can move very fast.
So, tomorrow, I'm off to sit in my usual spot at CasaKeza whilst my house is fumigated. Have to make sure the cats are out and they don't spray the piano, then can't return for at least four hours. Still, needs to be done. A chance to get on with some work in the sunshine and drink plenty of coffee.