Sunday, 23 July 2017

Out Of Reach

Bit of a long couple of weeks.  Still feeling a bit stressed. My electricity packed up the other day, in the evening - hence ressurected my old metal kettle to make tea. Called out the electric guys, who drove down my road, saw lights were on in other houses so left again. Called them back. 'You have electricity,' I was told. 'I don't,' I replied, sitting in the dark. 

They did something to the pole outside. It came back on, then went out again the next morning. Called them back. Having sent technicians to my place two times the night before, they then couldn't recall where I lived. Eventually found me and fixed my electric box, replacing it a foot higher than it was before, and out of human reach. Left wire cuttings on the porch. Had to call them back again to lower the box so that I could actually reach it, and tidy away the rubbish.

Anyone got stilts?
All sorted now. I have electricity and can reach the meter.

Then fell out with a tailor at Lamego Hotel. I went there a month ago to get mosquito nets for my bed. 'Sure, no problem,' they said. Quoted FRW 96,000, which is a lot of money, but I assumed they'd be good quality. Sent them the measurements. They insisted on sending their own tailor to check the measurements - thorough, I thought.

A few weeks later, I collect the nets and they don't come close to fitting. One was way too small, the other was slightly less small but the flap was crooked, leaving a massive gap for all the mosquitoes to get in. 

Blood Buffet

They took the nets away again and since then the tailor has apparently been ill, they've been too busy, they hadn't been paid by someone else so couldn't order more material... every excuse. Haven't delivered new nets and haven't refunded the 60,000 deposit which I paid over a month ago. Really fed up with them but don't have any option but to wait it out. They promise they'll be done this week. 

It's just tiring because it's the second expensive tailor I've been to this year who took a deposit and proved incapable of taking basic measurements. The first one even altered a pair of jeans that fitted fine, and returned them a size too small. 

There's such a push towards Made in Rwanda and buying local, but absolutely no consumer protection when things go wrong, which they do quite often. Accurately measuring something is really the staple skill in tailoring. I've written to RDB in the past pointing out that, without a trading standards department working to protect consumers, there's not much reason for anyone to buy in Rwanda if they can buy online or on a trip to Dubai, America or Europe. Of course, without PayPal, most Rwandans can't buy online, so it's a captive market.

It's getting difficult. I haven't been out of the country in over a year and a half, and I'm running low on clothes. The government is bringing in a ban on the sale of second hand clothes, but there's no industry to replace it. There's a couple of clothes shops in Kigali Heights, but they sell Primark quality at Harrods prices. There's a big trade in Chinese imported dresses, which doesn't help if you don't wear dresses or conform to small sizing. The only other option is local tailors, but I've wasted so much money on stuff that doesn't fit or look good. Buying clothes is really hard. 

I'm planning to go back to the UK next June or July, so will have a shopping spree then. Also hoping to go to India around Christmas, so maybe there'll be options in Mumbai. I've been buying a lot online, but it takes a long time for it to arrive and it's hard to tell sizing from a chart.

Thankfully, if I stick to writing and pianos, at least I won't have to dress up for work.

Little spot of editing at the local café.

Consoling myself with coffee and cake. Delicious red velvet cake from Slices in Kigali Heights. What the city lacks in clothing, it makes up for with food.

The incident where I bought £54 of cat food and they accidentally charged my card £540 actually turned out quite well. They couldn't revers the transaction to the UK so deposited it in my Rwandan account, which was useful. Usually it costs a small fortune to transfer money internationally, but that works out as a free transfer. Even if you do have to pay £1-2 a month just for a bank account, whereas I didn't pay anything for it to sit in my UK account. You even get charged for depositing money into your account here.

Taking deep breaths and looking forward to my cousin visiting next month.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Feel free to comment. Posts are moderated so there may be a delay before they appear. Thanks for reading!