Hannah's Excellent Eastern Adventure
Doing business in Rwanda is certainly an education in linguistics, and I learned this during my visit to the Urugero Women’s Cooperative in Rwamagama yesterday. In hopes of procuring banana fibre for our research in the United States, I went to the East of Rwanda to meet with the women’s cooperative who had been trained in extraction and to try to bargain with them for the price of fibre which had been rapidly increasing as both the banana farmers and the women’s coop realized there was money to be made.
The conversation over the price of fibre switched between a terrible hybrid of French, English and Kinyarwanda. Jokes were made that then had to be passed from one language to the next like some ridiculous form of the telephone game, and business transactions were interpreted over and over again until everyone was confident that their sentiments had been properly articulated to the other party. However, despite the language barriers and the potential for misunderstandings, the interaction was remarkably amiable and everyone ultimately wanted the best for the business. In the end there were smiles all around, and I was presented with a beautiful piece of artwork made from banana leaves which I cherish. The visit was not just a great excuse to get out of Kigali but an opportunity to connect with some of the women whose lives SHE is hoping to have a positive impact on as our business grows.