On Jun 11 2012 by William A. Stock

A Report From Rwanda

Editor’s Note: Amanda Ketchum, a Senior Paralegal at the firm, is on leave for an internship this summer.  Below is a guest post about her activities so far.

My First Three Weeks

At the top of Mt Kigali, Rwanda

In connection with my graduate studies, I recently received an opportunity to spend the summer interning with the U.S. State Department.  Specifically, I’m spending ten weeks working in the Political & Economic section of the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda.  This section is responsible for analyzing and reporting on the full range of political activities in Rwanda, including the government, foreign affairs, human rights, the judiciary, political-military issues, and social and religious affairs.  The section also provides Washington and Embassy officials with reporting and analysis of significant economic and financial developments in Rwanda in order to advance U.S. economic and commercial policies.  Although I’ve only been here for just over three weeks, I have already had a lot of fantastic experiences – both in and outside of work.  I’ve also been able to meet some really wonderful people who have gone out of their way to make sure that I’m settling in and having a good time.  Here’s what I’ve been up to so far:

Work — My first assignment was to develop a new “Business” section of the Kigali Embassy’s website, which includes information on doing business in Rwanda (for U.S. companies), doing business in the U.S. (for Rwandan companies), and key business links and economic reports for those looking to brush up on their U.S.-Rwandan bilateral investment treaties.  Here’s the link to the section of the site that I helped develop with the Embassy’s Economic/Commercial Officer, Joe Palombo.
On a more day-to-day basis, I’ve been attending meetings at various Rwandan ministries and judicial offices and drafting summaries of these meetings that are turned into cables (memos) and distributed to officials in D.C. and to other Embassies worldwide.  I’ve also been attending various Embassy meetings to be briefed on the current state of affairs from a variety of different intra-post departments, including the Consular (yay!) and Public Diplomacy sections of the Embassy, as well as the CDC, USAID, and Peace Corps, which all have a strong presence here.

Fun –As I’m here during the dry season (sunny with highs in the 70’s/80’s every day), it means that there are plenty of outdoorsy activities to keep me occupied on the weekends.  Two weekends ago I ran in the Kigali Peace Marathon (not the actual marathon – but the 5K portion of the run!) which was really great.  After the race, one of the Consular officers hosted a barbeque at his house, so I more than made up for all the calories I burned off during the run.  There was also a volleyball game that turned into a pretty intense (but fun!) tournament, however, so I was able to re-burn off my grilled goat kabobs.  Last weekend, a group of friends and I went hiking on Mt. Kigali, which (I just found out thanks to Wikipedia) is 6,075 feet above sea level.  The picture above shows of all of us who made the hike, as well as some local children that decided to follow us on our trip.  The picture was taken by a Rwandan that said he never used a camera before, so it’s a little off-center, but you get the idea!  Next weekend I’ll be camping in Akagera National Park in the eastern part of Rwanda, and will be able to get up close to some wild animals.  I’ll be sure to send updates and pictures along!