Friday, June 23, 2017

A Man’s House in Gicaca

Rwanda is one of the poorest countries in the world.  GDP per capita is around USD 670.  In comparison, Hong Kong’s is USD 36,000 and USA’s is USD 52,000.  Kigali is a modest city by world standards.  The villagers in Gicaca are even poorer.  

It is not just that in most households there is no electricity nor running water.  Very often there is almost nothing.  

When we wire up a house for electricity, we need to determine where to place the battery, the LED lights, etc.  We want to avoid placing the battery in the bed room, for safety reasons, and we would like to place the LED lights in the rooms which are most used at night.  

One student has remarked that it is often difficult to determine the function of the rooms.  All are pretty much the same - there is little or no furniture.  In fact, there is hardly anything.

Clothes hang on strings.  Water cans lie on the muddy floor.  Many has no beds. Some have matts or mattresses on the floor.  Some do not even have that. 

I measured a man’s house by foot.  He lives with one of his sons.  The house has 3 rooms, with a total area of ~140 square feet, roughly 70 square feet per person.  I was told it is roughly the size of a prison cell.  

The house was constructed by setting up a frame with tree branches.  The frame is tied together with strings made with straw.  Mud is then patted onto the frame.  Some walls are finished by laying on a finer layer of mud. 

The man’s kitchen consists of 2 stones set in the ground outside the house.  

The man is taking medicine for malaria.  Malaria is giving him pain in many places in his body. 

Such is life for many in Gicaca cell in Gikomero sector in the city of Kigali in the Republic of Rwanda. 

No comments: