Tools for our young apprentices

No.10 shop

No. 10 has hardly been out of the news lately as the saga that is Brexit is reported daily across the front pages. The other day we found another No.10 buried in the depths of the Gisozi district of Kigali although with absolutely nothing to do with European divorce settlements.

For the uninitiated, Gisozi is Rwanda's hardware centre. There are a few banks there but not a lot else except shops selling everything from garden lights to electric tools to cement mixers. Think of a small town called B&Q. Among the hundreds of small shops are steel-roofed workshops producing furniture and metal fabrications. All we wanted was some tools for two of our Nyamirambo boys who have just finished their motor mechanics vocational training. It took a bit of asking around but eventually our efforts were rewarded when we found No.10.

The shop is barely more than a door's width from wall to wall. It has been fitted into the ground floor of a three-story block underneath a flight of stairs. The walls are lined with everything from spanners to wrenches and socket-sets. There are plastic bins of nuts and bolts in every size imaginable. At the back, in the stair-well is the owner's mattress and bed-sheets. Along the rear wall is a broken desk and for comfort, a chair without a back.

Our two boys, Seth and Kuzungo are looking for practical experience after finishing their training. They have found a workshop that will take them on but they need to bring their own tools. This is common practice around the world. Employers seldom provide tools to employess. Replacing them when they are lost becomes expensive. Jean Pierre, who is helping us, knows a thing or two about tools and picks out two sets for the boys. The process takes an hour and after the list has been tallied for the third time and a price agreed, a couple of box-spanners are picked of the shelf and the price adjusted accordingly.

It has been a long morning. It is hot and dusty and yet another where patience has been the key to getting anything done. With their new toolkits, Seth and Kuzungo will be able to start earning money enough to feed themselves and even pay for a small house rent. We are very pleased that after sending them to school for almost ten years we can be reasonably confident that they have some good future ahead of them.