Sunday, February 14, 2016 (by Elaina Plinke)
Today was our first full day in Rwanda. We woke up at our hotel in Kigali and went to breakfast to meet Professor Marinas, Peter Luswata, and Engineer Anastase. Peter is the Country Director of Uganda Rural Community Support Foundation and we will be working with him throughout our stay in Rwanda. Engineer Anastase will be our main contact to work with the Gicumbi host community and Gihembe refugee community. The breakfast included many good foods, the highlight of which was passion-fruit, my new favorite food.
After breakfast we continued to lunch with Peter and some of the members of his organization. We played Pictionary while we waited for our lunch and got to ask questions to our collaborators about Uganda and Rwanda. One thing I noticed at lunch was that the sun was so much hotter than I had been expecting. A few minutes without a hat and our hair was on fire. In the sun it feels like a hot summer day but by night we all wear our jackets.
We left after lunch to head to the community where we will be staying at to do our field work and water samples collection. The two hour ride to Gicumbi District was beautiful as it consisted of driving through various small communities. The number of people riding bikes and walking on the side of the road hugely outnumbered the cars. Many of the small children would stop and wave at us as we passed while they biked or carried things down the road. Once we finally arrived at our next hotel, Hotel Urumuli, we ate a dinner of some traditional Rwandan foods at the hotel restaurant.
Our final task for the day was to calibrate the lab equipment for the site assessment. Doing this will save us time tomorrow so we can head out to begin meeting our host community early in the morning.