Thursday, 6 July 2017

Nope, Still Grumpy

I've started playing shufflepuck with Howl. He usually wins.

And, yes, update from last post - all kittens home and happy. 

It's been a really hectic couple of weeks.

Feeling much better health-wise, except the bank account. Got to the point where my accountant has taken so much pity on me he's suggested lunch to discuss potential work. Had to hang my head in shame when one of his staff asked me what I do, and I said 'fundraising.'

On the work side, things are going fairly well. I finished teaching another fiction course, and also took some training work with a major international development organisation. We did a nice training session at a hotel with a fabulous view of Kigali. 

Although it did take three days to negotiate a half-day contract - a contract that was delivered twenty minutes after the workshop began - and they refused to accept my invoice by e-mail, so I physically have to go and deliver it. Never encountered that before. In the 21st century, perhaps it is the development organisation that needs a little developing? Still, bread on the table.

Been working hard at the piano-building project. That's not proving easy at the moment. Having to recast the string frame as the first attempt wasn't quite right. Enlisted the services of a different forge called Chillington. Nice workshop.

But we're in a bit of a bind as Indiegogo still hasn't released any of the money we raised. They're supposed to do that within 15 working days of the campaign closing, but now they're saying it has to go through a vetting process, and they haven't even started that! 

Would never use Indiegogo again. They take a hefty lump of the donations we've raised and appear to do very little for it. We'll set up our own PayPal donate page next time.

Also had fun with the Rwandan postal service. Tried sending parts to Nairobi, hoping to enlist a partner to make hammer heads, only to have the parcel returned one month later with no explanation. Had to fork out for DHL, which was four times the price, but at least it should get there tomorrow.

There's regularly stuff in the news about Rwanda wanting to increase industry, but there's so many problems in the way, as we're discovering. Stuff like the postage system, just being able to send stuff in a timely, affordable fashion (a problem in many parts of the world), then finding somewhere that can make the metal and parts you need to sufficient quality, and in many cases having to order stuff from overseas because there's nowhere on the continent that can do it. Living in Kigali, with so many green spaces and shiny buildings, you do sometimes forget the economic disparity. But, hopefully, if we can prove this is possible, it'll make other things possible too. Perhaps one day we'll be the first place in Africa with a stringing machine - who knows?

Meanwhile, I'm helping to keep an eye on my friend's restaurant whilst she's away for a couple of months. Just cleared out her house today so she can Airbnb it. Paid myself in beer.

Quiet Retreat

Had a couple of nice nights in the above cubby. My priest friend came for dinner, fresh off the plane, then promptly left for Goma the same night. Hope to see him again when he comes back through to catch his plane home. 

Had a very drunken evening with some of my writing group after the last session. Was lovely to get the chance to talk literature. Ended with group hugs.

But it has been a week of minor irritations. Mostly dealing with admin, paperwork and bureaucratic systems, such as having my Rwandan ID refused by a money transfer agent, so having to go all the way back across town to get my passport (a passport which got me the ID card in the first place). Wasted morning, but apparently some national banking regulation. Lots of queueing to be told you need to be in the other queue, turning up to places that just moved office across town, making calls to people who don't call back. The best one is ordering food on an app that promises a money-off voucher if the meal is late - having that meal be late - then not getting a voucher (for the second time). Total con, but what you gonna do?

Blah. It can be frustrating, and when frustration comes, it comes in legion. But, listening to my friend describe her nostalgia for the UK being shattered within the first week, I still think the sunshine and general pace of life here makes up for most things. Watching politics in the UK at the moment, I think the honest answer for everyone is to leave the country. Hit ctrl+alt+del and start again.

Hopefully posts will become more cheerful soon. Just feel there's been a weight of stress lately, mostly caused by too many things getting in the way of what I want to do - build a piano, write. Just getting to the top of the paperwork pile, I can almost see freedom from here.

Nom, Nom, Nom

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