Monday, February 16, 2009

Last weekend

This is Roger.

I met Roger at a pub in Nyamirambo, the neighborhood next to
KIST. It's more accurate to say he met me. He had noticed I
had been there a few times (mzungu stick out) and started
chatting. It turns out he owns a mine for coltan (or is it coaltan?)
a couple hours out of Kigali. It's a pretty small affair, but
that's because to separate the coltan from the rock they need to
wash the rock. And the nearest water source is 2 kilometers away,
and down a hill 100 meters or so. People carry the water up in jugs
on their heads. Roger is planning to set up a pump system in the
next 4 months. Then he hopes to produce 100 kg per day. Coltan
sells for $25-30 per kg, so this is real money. He hopes to employ
200 people. Anyway he took me and the young German couple in the guest
house to visit his mine. The pictures are from the mine and what we
saw along the way. The wooden bike is pretty cool! Those are coffee beans
at the top. We had to drive at least 20 km on dirt roads in the middle of
nowhere to get to the mine. What looks like a hole in the ground (ok, it
is a hole in the ground) is one of the sources of coltan. The earth there is
30% coltan or so. When we parked in the village (maybe 20 small houses)
we immediately attracted an audience of small boys. They followed us
up the hill and to the mines, for a few hours. They seemed to have a good
time watching the mzungu.


  1. The pictures are great!!.You can see the curiosity in the eyes of the kids.That kayak must be hand-hewn;I like the improvisation and
    the ingenuity used in making a bike with locally
    available natural materials;Almost all parts of the banana plant are consummable either by people
    or by animals;I must get more info. on the coaltan;Keep up the good is educational!!

  2. I will never complain about the seat on my Trek again.......

  3. Great bike!! Pretty nifty kids to come up with that bike with their limited resources.
    Are women and little girls not allowed to be photographed?

    I am glad you are having a unique sabbatical. Keep having fun.