It’s the Small Things

There are two types of moto drivers in Rwanda. Those who try and avoid the potholes and bumps in the road and those who don’t. I prefer the former.

Sometimes it’s impossible to avoid the bumps because you live on one long, dirt road that is mostly bumps. But you learn to just hold on to your helmet and roll with it.

I’ve been in Rwanda for two and a half weeks now and I’m finally starting to settle in. Being responsible for an entire house and your-self is a lot of work! There are lots of small things that I took for granted in the States that I’ve had to learn how to do here. Like, how do you know you need to buy more electricity? When it goes out.

20170331_185816Here in Rwanda you don’t pay for electricity after you use it, you buy exactly what you need. I did not know this until my electricity went out the first time, in the middle of the afternoon. Even then I figured the electricity had just gone out for everyone, which it does frequently. But one hour turned into four and then it was dark. It didn’t click until my friend came over and pointed out that all my neighbours had power except me. DUH ERICA!

Thankfully buying electricity is pretty simple once you get the hang of it. First you have to go into town and find one of the sketchy looking yellow umbrellas on the side of the road. You walk up and tell the random person standing under it that you want to purchase mobile money (totally sketchy but perfectly legit here). Mobile money is how you pay for the electricity. You give them your cell number and they type some stuff in their phone and then you get a text saying you officially have mobile money on your account. Only after you get the text do you then pay the person with real cash. Kind of feels like a drug deal happening on the down low, but it works.

Once you have mobile money you type in a code on your phone, select English, and go through the menus until it says Buy Electricity. Then you type in your meter number (make sure you get this right), and how much mobile money you want to spend. Then you get another text with a token code that you type into your meter box at home. When you type the token code into the meter box you immediately have electricity! As I am not the tallest person, I have to stand on a chair to reach the meter box, but other than that the whole process is very straight forward.

I’m slowly learning how to do the practical things that I didn’t need to know the last time I was here. Even if it sometimes feels like I’ve jumped off the deep end to learn how to swim. At least I can grab a moto on the street and tell them generally where I want to go!

Next goal: Go to the market and pay a reasonable price for passion fruit.




  One thought on “It’s the Small Things

  1. Tata
    April 7, 2017 at 8:52 pm

    I love this. I remember when we went to Iceland we had to pay ahead of time for gas but we didn’t understand their system AND they didn’t give change back if you overpaid AND the pumps were owned by people other than those working there so they wouldn’t help us. Our fuel gauge was also broken so we always wondered if/when we were going to run out of gas.

    You are so inspiring!


    • April 9, 2017 at 5:39 pm

      Whoa! That sounds intense in a not fun way! I’m so impressed you managed that. If you ever make it to Rwanda people are so kind and helpful, especially if you look confused, haha!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: