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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Three Months Update - AGLI Volunteer in Gisenyi / Goma

Dear All,

I haven't sent out a large email for a few weeks, although I have posted some items to the blogs, and blogs of others that I have giving tech support and other assistance.

Check out:
  • My personal and general blog:  Posts here include translated testimonials from newly trained HROC facilitators living in Rwanda, Burundi and DRC, as well as images of a proposed site for a training center/office building for Zawadi' and Levi's CPGRBC organization of women survivors.
  • The fellowship / consultation blog:   Posts here include the translated-into-Kinyarwanda video of kids at 15th St. Meeting greeting kids at Gisenyi Friends meeting.  I have a backlog of 25 response letters to scan and get translated.  There is also some adult correspondence posted on the blog too!
  • The JeunesPaixGrandsLacs blog:  We've been getting together youth groups (four youth groups so far, from Gisenyi and Goma) to talk about peace, different kinds of peace, what it means to them, and how they themselves can help build peace.  This group is being built to last, so that the individuals can publish with mail2blogger themselves, and so they can operate on their own funds until they impress someone enough to get funding for bigger works.  I think this will work out, and Peace Corps volunteer Porsche Washington has also shown interest in helping out!
  • Dave Bucura's blog and Levi's (first) blog:  Dave Bucura is pastor of a church in Kigali Rwanda, as well as other responsibilities with FWCC, AGLI, Mediation, etc.  Levi is pastor of a Quaker church in Goma, and also works with Zawadi's CPGRBC.  They're just getting started, but this will not be difficult for them once it kicks in that people want to read their posts.  Both of them are practical and effective professionals that use email often.  And, the mail2blogger system means that posting to the blog is the exact same process as sending an email.
In other big news, two weeks ago, I heard that I was accepted to the economics PhD program at Boston University!  The 5-year program is ranked #11 in for development economics among the PhD programs in US News' rankings.  I will start officially in August 2011, but I will be cramming all summer to get ready.

I am currently sitting on the computer all day to do design work.  Here is a link to the simplified earthquake-resistant masonry house design manual that we're working on translating into Kinyarwanda and French.  I also worked up a truss design spreadsheet, and design drawings and quantities tabulations are forthcoming.

Johnny Johnson, I haven't forgotten about you!  I'm going to personally go poke my nose around the Lake Kivu shore looking for information about your friends Yvette and Kazuko's orphanage next time I cross the border! 

Hope everything is going well with you, thanks for your interest!

-Steven Bhardwaj
Rwanda phone: 0784114209
USA phone (transfers to Rwanda): (+1) 917-725-5122 
USA fax: (+1) 347-416-6273

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