Feb 12

Flight was uneventful. Upon arrival our pointman Evode delivers the news – Riepa the Rwanda Investment and Promotion authority did not receive the documents and has only time tomorrow to see us, after lunch – apparently they are moving offices.

And the other news was that the person who had promised us the rooms in Butare had just died during a trip to Congo. His funeral is tomorrow, friday the 13th.

Finally, upon arriving at the Hostel we had reserved, its full booked and we have to sort out another place to stay, which is difficult, as our driver has another job to do, upon which I decide to go for a late dinner to the Hotel Mille Collines – which is under renovation.

With Evode, after finding another hotel, we settle on the following action plan for next morning –

a) Visit Bank to open an account

b) Visit Riepa to register and try to get this done

c) Visit of Defense ministry as they have excess rooms in Butare

d) Visit of rooms in Kigali which we might be able to rent for “small fare”

Finally, the driver shows up but wants extra money, which I decline as he had kept part of my luggage, whatever, we find a guesthouse, Iris, and I finish the day.

Get picked up in a red Merc by Evode and his uncle who’s personal story is such that I can not really write it up here. He is well connected and we stop at Bank Kigali – upon the connections we get let into the Premier Club department; the banking chap is a bit puzzled, partly ’cause his English was recently acquired. He claims our documentss for a bank account need registration first.

We knew that, get a list of other requirements (board resolution; certification, etc) and move on to Riepa. These are the guys who did not want to see us before lunch – so we go in at 11am.. First chap Josef M is clearly the front guy for company registrations. He looks at our docs and advises us to speak to the notary; easy, he is next door, so is the company registrar. Notary looks at our docs and thinks its not Rwanda-like, but, luckily us, he knows who can fix it up for us and will call us later.

Ok, we go to the Bourbon coffee to bridge the day, we then speak a bit more about rooms, etc. so Evode is actually less optimistic this morning that the Ministry of Defense will really help us here; however, for monday in butare, he calls someone who knows the Major and the local Officer of the MI5 there, who he thinks can advice us if we can get the rooms; also, its clear that his job description has changed lately as the education dept was moved to kigali, but he was not told what to do in butare from now on. So he is paid but not busy upon I decide to offer him the CEO job – to entice him to get involved and channel his energy towards Camara.

We meet the lawyer friend of the notary a bit later in the Bourbon coffee again; he pulls out his half broken computer and we fix it there in a good hour upon which he demands payment of $100 which we reduce to 10.000RWF. I see Evode gesticulating and showing his empty purse – go for it, drive him down I think and do not get involved (except for sharing the 5000). Who knows when we need him again.

All set, I change money and go for a dinner. Tomorrow, 8a.m. we take public transport to Butare to see the rooms. Frank Lehmann