My sisters tricked me into coming over to Kigali, Rwanda for the rest of my winter break by promising me fun and adventures. But it was a trap! They actually want me here not for my amazing personality and quick wit but so I will code the Akilah Institute’s web page. They entice me to come visit the campus and then BAM, I am chained to a chair and forced to code away all day. Look at the conditions I am forced to work in:
Okay, I won’t be so dramatic. The campus actually looks like this:
Fine, I admit that being their free-labor coder hasn’t been too terrible so far- I make a few simple changes, they are happy, I get a big ego, and then I start demanding everybody call me webmaster of the universe. Until today… when I broke the website. It was a bleak, bleak time for me as I scrambled about trying to access the server through an FTP program because there was a parse error and the site was down and no one could get on the site and I couldn’t fix the php file I broke and millionaire donors were trying to access the site and give Akilah lots of $$$$$ and I was going to be in big trouble. Oh boy. Anyway, yes, I ended up fixing it with no one the wiser (of course, they will be wiser once they read this post), but now I realize I am actually not the hot shot that I thought I was. Sigh. I thought I was perfect until now. I guess I should keep my day job.
Well, now that I’m done being melodramatic, let me show you around campus.
When I arrive on campus everyday at around 9, the girls are already in the classrooms studying. They wake up in the wee hours around 5am, walk up and down hills to get to school by 7:30, and then they sit in class until 2:30. Even once school ends, most stay to do homework until 4:30, when they leave for their jobs. One of the girls I talked to works at a casino, and when I asked her what her work hours are, she responded, “4:30 to 12, 1, 2, it depends.” So on some nights, by the time she gets home, she gets to sleep for less than 3 hours before having to wake up for school again. Which means she needs to get all her homework done between 2:30, when school gets out, and 4:30, when she needs to be changed and at the casino ready to work. Wow. And I complain about my 10am classes.
Akilah currently has a total of 110 girls enrolled: 38 girls in the second year Blue Class and 72 in the first year Green and Yellow classes. Their classes range from Hospitality, Leadership, Public Speaking, Customer Serve and Entrepreneurship to IT, Finance, Math, and English.
They are expected to only speak English on campus, but most of the girls speak French, Kinyarwanda, Swahili and other tribal dialects as well.
Lunch is provided by a local Rwandan woman, who supplies hardboiled eggs, bananas, chapata, and samosa for the girls.
During lunch, the girls have a nice break to sit outside either on the new picnic tables or on the ground and enjoy the view of Rwanda: The Land of a Thousand Hills.
And like us, they too are tempted by Facebook.