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10-06-2011

Wednesday this week was an early start. I had agreed to help our friends Norbert and Sabine Kalka with their project in the east of Rwanda, and Justin their driver, was collecting me at 8 o'clock for the trip out to Kayonza in the Eastern Province.

The road east is much flatter than the one which heads west and climbs into the mountains. After leaving Kigali, the banana trees give way to flatter land, open fields and eventually Akagera wildlife park. Another half an hour beyond that and the road crosses into Tanzania.

The Kalka's project includes some 230 people formed into six groups trying to earn income from farming, brick-making, carpentry, and even singing. Life out in the country is clearly different to Kigali city, but even here, the farmers' greatest challenge is finding enough land.

We weren't meeting all 230 cooperative members today. Each group had elected some of their number who could read and write to look after the group finances. I had been asked to meet these people with a view to giving them a training course in simple accounting and business finance. For some, the principles behind even the simplest of activities such as selling tomatoes are a mystery.

We met in the local church which the pastor had kindly let us use. twenty four people came from the surrounding area to sit in a hall which became more like an oven as the day progressed. Still, they stayed awake till the very end and seemed to appreciate the work we covered.