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A Note for New Readers

Urukundo Village is an independent home for Rwandan children created and funded through Hope Made Real and its incredibly kind donors. We are not funded by any particular denomination or organization and welcome all who seek to help the children of Rwanda and create a better world not just for a child, but for us all. 

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Thursday
Feb242011

To Fax or Not To Fax

It is a simple thing to Fax.

Right?? Wrong! Not if you live in Urukundo Village, Rwanda, Africa.

This experience convinced me that when our Cyber Cafe is up and running it needs a Fax machine.
I had talked to Bethany from Janny, Montgomery Scott Financial advisors in America who needed my signature on a document for my little account back in the US.  I informed her by email that if she needed my signature she must to get the form to me because the next day being Saturday, the banks in Rwanda closed after half a day.  Everything is closed on Sunday then Monday would be a holiday of a sort because the election for Mayor would be taking place. Nothing would happen until Tuesday and that was too much of a delay. There would be no way to get the fax sent to meet the schedule I needed to honor.

To compound the problem, when she is working, I am asleep and our working days do not readily overlap. But bless her, she emailed the form out at once (in the middle of her day while Rwanda is settling for sleep). So the next morning while Bethany slept, I could get the fax sent and she would have it to fit her deadline.
I woke early called my driver for 9:30 and printed the form, signed it put the official stamp on it and was ready.

My bank had a Fax Machine and they had told me some time ago it would be free to me because I am a good customer.  There would be no problem.

Arriving at the bank Bernard greeted me at the door. I shared with him my reason for being there. "Yes there is a Fax Machine!" But the next words I did not like - "I do not know how to work the machine and Innocent is the only one who does and he is not here today."  

"Ok", I thought. I walked across the street to an Internet Cafe and no, they did not Fax. "Try the Poste" the owner suggested.   We went straight to the Poste to find their machine broken. Then we went to another bank and - yes - they did have a fax, but could not fax out of the country! We stopped at two more places with no success. The last hope was Kabgayi Hospital Communication Center. This time I sat in the car and sent Oswald to get the rejection. He came back with a thumbs up.  Great. The young man in charge took us to the machine and punched at the buttons. A message came up in French - Attendez - 'Wait'. Patience is not my strong suit. The machine could not connect to the network. It tried and we sat for over an hour watching a machine that had no intentions of doing what I needed done. Finally the machine ejected a message. In essence and in French, it said "Get lost, I am not available."

I am desperate. I had to get the form to Beth. "What can I do?!" - I must have looked how I felt. The boy said "I can scan it for you if you have a flash drive." I didn't have one and said so. "OK," he said, "I can scan it and send it from my email." "Would you really do that?" I asked. He took the paper, scanned it and sat down at his computer. Again no network.  We waited another half hour.  Finally the network accepted the scan and it was sent. I now am praying that it reached its destination.

To Fax or not to not to Fax : In Rwanda, that is definitely not a question. It is a dilemma!

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