On Jul 26 2012 by William A. Stock

Report from Rwanda #2

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 recent activities.

I can’t believe that my time in Rwanda is more than halfway over!  Here’s what I’ve been up to:

Things have been falling into a pretty steady routine in terms of attending meetings and writing reports, but I occasionally get the odd assignment here and there.  As this past week was a holiday for both the U.S. and Rwanda (who celebrates their Liberation Day on July 4th), I was tasked with various party-planning duties.  Last week I called about 70 different people (including the President’s and Prime Minister’s offices!) to confirm whether or not they’d be attending the Embassy’s official (formal) celebration.  At the actual event, my job was to greet arriving guests and show them around the compound (basically, point them in the direction of the refreshments!).  I actually got to greet the Foreign Minister of Rwanda (equivalent to our Secretary of State) which was really exciting.

With the Pennsylvania Flag at the Embassy party

This afternoon is the Embassy’s “unofficial” Independence Day celebration, and they’re inviting all U.S. citizens who are currently in Rwanda to come to the Embassy for food, games, and fun.  My only job will be to supervise some children’s games for about an hour, but the rest of the time I’ll get to enjoy the event, so I’m excited!  Right now I’m working on compiling biographies of important Rwandan ministers and officials that will be put into a binder for the new Deputy Chief of Mission (“DCM” – the person next in line under the Ambassador), who will be arriving at Post in a couple of weeks.  The new DCM will use these biographies before making courtesy calls to these influential Rwandans at their respective ministries/organizations.

On weekends I’ve been able to do some exciting things.  A few weeks ago I camped out overnight at Akagera National Park – a safari park in the eastern part of Rwanda, near the Tanzania border.  That was my first time that I’d ever been camping, and (aside from accidentally pitching our tent on a slight hill and waking up all scrunched onto one side of the tent), it actually wasn’t bad!  We got to see some really cool including baboons, zebras, and giraffes.  The best part was that you could get pretty close to the animals – like the pictured giraffe – and they didn’t run away!  This coming weekend is the Kigali Music Festival, and some friends and I are planning on picnicking and attending some of the concerts throughout the weekend.