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Wire tailed swallows

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The Boxes arrive
The Boxes arrive

It was an exciting moment as the green truck with ‘The Big Green Moving Machine' painted on the front pulled up my driveway here in Kigali and delivered the boxes that Terry the packer had so carefully wrapped for me four weeks ago. I haven't brought very much because my family's still in England and needs our stuff, but it was good to get my bicycle (and to fix back on the saddle, pedals, handlebar and seat which they remove for transit), home photos, and my binoculars.

My friendly swallows
My friendly swallows

It's good to have the binoculars because I can now get a good look at the swallows I mentioned in Dear Olly.  They have been on the ledge every morning, and, for the birdies amongst you, are called ‘Wire Tailed Swallows'.  There is quite a bit of bird life around my house as it is just near a small lake, which I have found good to run around, and local residents enjoy relaxing by. Kigali is a small city of less than a million people, and has quite an open, green feel about it; the Government works hard to ensure the city is clean and pleasant, and maintains parks and memorials well. One of the really impressive actions here has been to ban plastic bags; the only containers you can get are strong bags made from paper or natural fibre.  If you come to Kigali, be prepared to have to leave your duty free plastic bags (but not the contents) at the airport!

Kigali street scene
Kigali street scene

The first couple of weeks have spent getting to know my DFID team as well as the  partners of our development programme.  My role essentially is to be the main point of contact for DFID's work in country, to provide direction for the team, and to scrutinise the programmes we support to ensure they are achieving real impact. My strongest impression so far is the determination of the Government of Rwanda to drive forward development for the country, as quickly as possible - whether this is in registering land holdings, improving health services for pregnant women, or providing care for the HIV-positive victims of the genocide - all things that DFID is financing in Rwanda.  This is a country in a hurry.

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  1. Comment by Barbara Murray posted on

    Really enjoyed reading your blogs and learning a little bit more about Rwanda. We had lunch with your lovely family on Sunday and enjoyed it very much. What a talented lot they are! Be blessed in you're doing there. Lots of love Barb M xx

  2. Comment by will Kemp posted on

    Great to get your news Martin, I'm glad your stuff arrived safely. Sounds like lots of amazing work going on over there - you seem impressed with the government, at least their plastic bag policy anyway! Good stuff. I am going to try the new non work email see if it is working - there is lots going on at The Point to fill you in on! Peace, Will K

  3. Comment by Rob Glew posted on

    Good to hear you have safely arrived Martin. Just caught up with your other blogs. The Land of a Thousand Hill's photo makes it look a beautiful place. After which, seeing the genocide memorial photo's is a salutory reminder of the past. Good to know you are part of a team committed to making a difference. Bless you and the Lord protect you out there. We are missing you on the week 1 welcome team! Rob

  4. Comment by Roland Hodson posted on

    We just learned about the DFID blogs in Bogra and I was delighted to see news of you. If anything you look even thinner than when last seen here in Bogra. I just looked at our photo board, where you still have a place of honour, to check. You'll be pleased to know we are very near to spending all the money you gave us and even more important achieving almost everything in our logframe. I don't think it gets much better than that in development so I am checking out on a high note. Thanks again for having confidence in us despite a very slow start.

    I was really pleased to hear that you are encouraged by progress in Rwanda. That certainly couldn't have been said when I was last there but that was a long time ago.

    Keep up the good work. Roland Hodson (CLP-Bangladesh)

  5. Comment by James di Castiglione posted on

    Hi Martin,
    Hope you are well - loving the blog, really great to hear what's going on, and definitely to hear that the bike has arrived safely!!

    Was round at yours the other afternoon planning for Pass it On with Juliet - and everything is in good shape...!

    We miss you here, lots of love from the di Cas'

  6. Comment by Martin Leach posted on

    Hi James, Roland, Rob, Will and Barbara,

    Many thanks for your comments; glad you are enjoying the blog. Keep reading as there is more to come especially round the 15th Anniversary of the Genocide over the next two weeks. DFID cut a short video talking to survivors, which will be really worth viewing when it goes live in a few days.

    Will - This place is so clean and neat. Once a month on a Saturday morning everyone does 'Umuganda' (see: where all the people go and do a bit of community service such as cleaning the street in front of the house. It would be good for Hurstpierpoint.

    Roland: it cannot be true, I always have had this slim, svelte appearance and I have not lost any weight! But great to hear about The Chars Livelihoods Programme; I remember the dark days of 2003 when I really wasn't sure it would get off the ground. And now you will no doubt of helped literally hundreds of thousands of poor Bangladeshis to improve their lives. Well done.