Friday, May 8, 2009

Reader Poll: Rood Rie Roove Roo Roo-Rahndah?

Rwanda--land of dreams. Land of genocide. Land of gorillas. Land of gorilla-eating rebels who slaughter tourists who pay lots of money to see the gorillas.

It is lush. It was settled by pygmies in 30,000BC. It is the most densely-populated country in Africa. It hasn't been too long since the last coup. HIV abounds.

Should I live there for a year as a pampered ex-pat?

Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

A friend of mine recently informed me that a friend of her boyfriend's hairdresser (kidding; not kidding; kidding) was recently appointed Head of the Office of Economic Development or something and moved his whole family there from the United States.

This man has a number of positions to fill, including a few in the Event Production sector--which happens to be one of my numerous specialties.

It is hardly a sure thing that I will even be offered a post, but since it is a possibility, I must consider my options in order to pull the trigger when the time comes.

When I close my eyes and think about what life would be like for me in Rwanda, it is impossible not to imagine myself as James McAvoy in The Last King of Scotland--although I am slightly better looking.

I know that movie took place in Uganda, in the 1970s, but that is irrelevant--my instinctive imagination does not care about such details.

As such, my first demand would be the Mercedes convertible he drives in the movie, because there's just something so ex-pat about driving a Mercedes down unpaved roads. [Option #2 would be a British-racing-green Land Rover Defender 90).

Either way, I would tear around the country blasting loud music until I was executed for no reason.

OR I would have a splendid time, help put on the best gorilla-naming ceremony the country's ever seen, make some good money (for a change), and see some sights and animals and meet some people and why not?

It could be another fantastic adventure to throw on the pile.




LiteralDan said...

I think it's the kind of thing that sounds better than it would probably be, over the kind of long term you're probably talking about.

A couple months or so? No doubt, go for it. But an indefinite term in a new career? Too many unknowns, too high a risk of being macheted to death. And as I'm sure you're still waking up in cold sweats since the Tanzania trip, you must know that's not a quick and painless process.

Who knows how many toes you might step on accidentally when putting on an event without having been raised in their culture? Your choice of offensive centerpiece might be quickly replaced with your dripping corpse.

Why not find out if this guy knows anyone hiring in the Kenyan government, or something?

matt said...

I say jump on this bizarre opportunity, but read everything Norman Rush has ever written first. plus anything you can find by or about Rwandans.

also note that working as an 'event coordinator' at that level you'll be hobknobbing with the UN set & their studied-abroad local counterparts, so the toes to be stepped on will have more to do with table etiquette at Cambridge dining halls or borrowed satellite phones than anything more familiar to your average east African.