Saturday, 27 May 2017


Pretty flower at CasaKeza.

Trying to focus on pretty things whilst I recover from the cold of doom. Started teaching again last night and it almost killed me. 

Lurgy descended suddenly after a little over-indulgence, which saw me wake up in a friend's spare room just in time to watch a beautiful sunrise. I fell asleep in her garden, woke feeling dreadful around mid-morning and rolled home to commence dying. It's full on yucky, gunky, coughey cold.

Mostly been pressing my face to the cold floor since my cuddle of kittens requisitioned the bed.

They Know Who Owns Who

In better news, the frame is out of Lirika and has gone to Alex's workshop. The New Times, our local paper, has been in touch about potentially covering the story. Hoping that once Alex is ready to pour the metal we can all go down there and take photographs. There's also a video to go with this, but I'm having trouble getting AVS editor to work with me on it. You'll find more on Kigali Keys blog eventually.

This is all that's left of my lovely piano. Missing her already.

Monday, 22 May 2017

One Year On


Well, in all the excitement of Rock Night and face painting, I almost missed the one year anniversary of barbecuing myself alive. Who would have thought, this time last year, that I could ever have forgotten that?

Lasting damage?

A little bit, but nothing I can't hand-le (yeah, I'm joking about this shit).

So, good news - I can do everything I did before: clap, click my fingers, type, play the tin whistle. Nerves feel just as sensitive most of the time. I think it's some sort of compensatory thing. I lost the fingerprints completely on three fingers and they've been replaced by scar tissue. If I focus on rubbing the scar tissue, it feels waxy and a little numb, but when the hand functions as a whole, I don't notice. What I don't understand is that all four fingers were equally burnt (very graphic picture), but the index is now fine - even grown fingerprints.

Down side is, I still have a noticeable contracture on my little finger. It hasn't got any worse, but it hasn't got any better, either. I would say it's not that noticeable on a day-to-day basis, but I do notice it when playing the piano. Looks like the only way to get it fixed would be to have a surgical snip. Might talk to a doctor about it eventually.

Finally, I have an impressive hypertrophic scar on my wrist.


Three Months Later

Turned into this raised, red bump:

It's still a bit sore and occasionally itches, but otherwise it's fine. The little bump at the bottom is an insect bite, not part of the scar. It's shiny because it's always covered in shea butter.

Thankfully, it doesn't impede movement. There's nothing I can't do now that I could do before the accident. I've been really fortunate in that respect.

Apparently, scars like these can take up to two years to fully heal, but I'd be very surprised if it looks different this time next year. It hasn't changed much in the past four or five months. Looks like the kind of thing you have for life.

I still find it incredible that you can regrow your body after damage like that. 

Sunday, 21 May 2017


Fires of Hades! Friday was so much fun.

Historic moment as Rwanda held its first ever rock night!

Took me back to my undergrad years.

Undergrad Rock Ladies

It was organised by Jonny Lee and the guys from Up to 11. Held at One Love. I have the internet to thank for my wardrobe. I started off so gothed-up, dressed-up and laced-up.


And ended up in a simple black tank, wearing my friend's belt by the end of it. I forgot how much you need a belt when you're doing this.

The venue was perfect and there were two live bands who kept us going until about 1:30. One group from the American Embassy who killed Violent Femmes and Radiohead, but did insist on dropping Dolly Parton in for some reason... The second band were from Burundi. They didn't kick off until late, but did a crazy good rendition of Jimmy Hendrix, Hey Joe. Felt so good to let off steam. Even had a little mosh pit going at the front. Made lots of new friends. I love rock clubs. Everyone dresses scary, but usually they're the friendliest people.

Absolutely fantastic event and can't wait to do it again. Should probably have left it there, but was hungry. Went with Maia to Envy for Cindy's birthday. Weird remembering it was a year ago we'd had the ladies night out. Tried to recreate this year but I was so exhausted. Flopped home to bed by 3:30.

Plus Gin =
Cake Fight!

Thursday, 18 May 2017


Lots of fun, posey selfies. Went to Kigali International Food Fair with Maia and Taia at the weekend. Had a lovely time. Bumped into Laars, the lodger who looked after my cats whilst I was at Maasai, and ate baklava and noodles (not at the same time). Also got my face painted. 

Got plied with plenty of free wine as Maia was dishing out food on the Spanish stall as advertising for her tapas restaurant. It was a really fun day, with loads of people enjoying themselves. Held at the European Ambassador's residence. We stayed until the very end, when the beer ran out.


Then it was back to Casa Keza, where I relived my postgraduate years as a barmaid. Still got it.


Nice to know I've got a job if this piano business doesn't work out. Maia's also installed some very pretty lighting in the garden, so I get accommodation, too.

The decking was done by Désiré, my partner in pianos. He took my Lirika away today to start taking her apart so that we can work out how to build one. It was quite an emotional morning.

GYC alumni Fidele popped by a couple of days ago, and was the last person to give her a good playing. He taught himself keyboard in his room and this was his first time playing a proper piano.  Reminds me why we're doing this.

Also went back to Kigali Music School yesterday. Spent the day cleaning up their Heintzman and teaching Director Bonuni how to tune.

The inside was well dusty, though. This was the water after rinsing out the cloth! 


Wednesday, 10 May 2017

100 Year Old Piano in Rwanda

Aaaand, back to pianos.

Had a lovely time at Kigali Music School with my new friend Chris from Musicians Without Borders. They've got a 1924 Canadian Heintzman - almost 100 years old. It's got a few problems including missing (quite likely ivory) key tops, couple of stray damper heads and a lot of dust, but hopefully we can restore it. I've got a guy coming later who knows about 3D printing. Going to see if it's a better bet to try to print new key tops. A full set of whites is fairly cheap, but these seem a little slimmer than modern keys and each of the 52 would need filing down. 3D printing could potentially replicate them to the exact size.

Had my first string breakage whilst tuning at the Korean church a couple of weeks back. Thankfully it was a treble string with a treble unison, so one string remained - still playable until the new string arrives. Managed the entire tuning in under four hours. 

One of the former human rights participants from GYC 2015 came to visit when he heard about the project. He bought a keyboard and taught himself to play in his room. This was his first time playing a proper piano and his smile was fabulous. Like many of my friends, he asked where you plug it in, and was intrigued when I explained it doesn't need electricity.

Also took Chris to visit Alex's forge. This is where we'll be melting down the metal to build the string frame.

Alex Explaining How it Works

Don't forget, you can help us to build the first pianos in Rwanda via our Indiegogo campaign. There's also a blog here, Facebook and Twitter to help you keep up to date.