Trip to Rwanda July 2021

It was a certainly unique moment when we left Stuttgart to fly to Rwanda in July 2021. Our wives and kids were on their way to Switzerland to spend their holidays there and we were about to enter a plane that would bring us back to th place we left two years ago. We were looking forward to meeting Vitals family and friends from Kigali and Magu.

Alongside with some components for a pilot solar plant we took a bucket list with many items on it. We were planning to implement a pilot solar plant, buy a piece of landfor the community centre in Magu and do a groundbreaking event with the people of Magu. My brother Josia and I were testing several scenarios

for the pilot plant in Germany and were keen to know if it would work in its new environment.

Arriving in Kigali was great, especially to feel the welcoming warm breeze on the airport when we left the plane. After we had arrived at our Airbnb in Kigali we were greeted by our host who was also our guard, chef and companion during our stay. During the first days we were busy buying the components for the solar

plant. Especially for us germans that was a lot of fun. The act of buying technical components is a huge cooperation effort by many businesses to finally sell the customer exactly what he needs. We started at a car workshop and asked for buffer batteries for a solar plant there and ended up in the backyard of a solar equipment salesemen three hours later. He sold us brandnew high quality solar panels from a well known

german manufacturer and the suitable batteries alongside with many other components. The service that came along with buying the components was excellent and our business partner made shure that everything was stored properly in a truck that transported everything to the backyard of our Airbnb.

In the evenings Vitals mom prepared delicious food. We ate for example the finest slowly steamed meat you can imagine with potatoes, beans, tree tomato and sauce. Mama Vital made sure that there was always more food than we could eat :) We also met our friends Prote and Alfred. They run a photography business in Kigali and do an excellent job. Especially Protegene was heavily involved in the process of acquiring the land for the community education center (he, like Vital grew up in Magu.) He also took most of the

fotos that you will find on our website.

As all the preparations were done we drove to Magu and met the Pastor and some of the leaders of the village in the church building. After exchanging greetings and some updates about our families

we started to discuss the next steps. They already knew what we were planning as we informed them months ago. We agreed on installing the pilot plant on the roof of the church building and discussed the technical details of the installation process. We even learned that an electrician lives nearby and that he will help us with wiring the building.

The following days were filled with activities around the solar plant, and after some days of joint effort the solar lamps were on! With the help of Musirikare who coordinated the people who supported us, we were able to equip the church with electric lights alongside with a weather station. This weather station will help us to gather crucial data for the solar plant that will power the community centre in the future. Vital overlooked the activities on the roof and Josia and I were busy inside with wiringthe batteries, a raspberry Pi Computer, the weather station and an Edge device that connects with the mobile internet. When we left Magu this evening we saw the lightbulb glowing in the centre of the cross shaped window of the church and thanked God, who led everything to this moment.

In the last week we were happy to welcome Chris and Andrew Haroun in Rwanda. Chris is a Finance Professor, friend and supporter of the project from the very beginning. Vital met Chris in an MBA Program

and they even met in person in Berlin 2019 at a Udemy Conference. They joined us for the groundbreaking event in Magu and also got to know the Village of Magu. Before the groundbreaking event we had bought some shovels and helmets to make it an authentic experience for everyone involved in it. It was amazing to find almost the whole village gathered for that ceremony and we even had the opportunity to exchange some thoughts on the future of the community centre.

We left Rwanda after two and a half weeks with hearts full of gratitude and joy for all God has done and will do in the future, but also a bit exhausted and very excited to meeting our families back in Stuttgart.

Jannik Haenel

February 15, 2022


Magu - a short introduction
Trip to Rwanda July 2021
How everything started...

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