One year ago we had no real evidence to prove that the idea of Karisimbi Partners was a good one. We didn’t know if we would be accepted by Rwandans. We didn’t know if we would be able to have a positive impact in the way we had hoped. We didn’t know how our families would adapt (or ourselves for that matter). It was a beginning filled with many unknowns.
We had different challenges then than we have now. We didn’t know where to go for good food. We didn’t know what vehicle to buy. We didn’t know if we would have enough money to pay rent after our first three to six months. We didn’t know all the cultural norms for interacting with our clients. We didn’t know the local tax laws. We didn’t know what we didn’t know.
We still have plenty of challenges and many of them aren’t so different from the ones we had originally, but we are somehow more comfortable with the uncertainty of it all. We still don’t know what we don’t know but by definition of having been here for a year, there is at least less that we don’t know now than we didn’t know then.
We give thanks to God for this incredible year and the opportunities we’ve had to experience His love and to share some of that love with others. We’ve seen children adopted and deep friendships forged. We’ve witnessed employees and interns see the world in a different light and client businesses grow and employ more people. We’ve had countless culture-changing interactions on the street corner and within the office of the Prime Minister. Thank you God!
Exhibit A: Over the past week, we attended a meeting with a group of seven leading mid-sized Rwandan companies, led by the Permanent Secretary (number two person) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry, where Karisimbi Partners was featured as the company “doctor” that could help turn around these ailing companies. We led a negotiation with a global software provider in order to develop a solution for Kigali City to manage its finances and serve its people better. We had lunch with an employee to celebrate his experience over the last six months and challenge and mentor him as he thinks about next steps. We advised a client on how to effectively use US Government grant money. We ended the week with a team meeting to discuss how to juggle what seems to be a growing list of opportunities that are in front of us. Compare that discussion to one year ago, where at least I was wondering whether I would need to find a side-job as a teacher or car mechanic in order to stay busy….
Maybe the best blessing in the last year is in our families. For one example, when my kids first arrived, they weren’t so sure about Rwanda in general. This week, my eldest daughter asked me if we could stay in Rwanda forever. I told her it was up to God. Pretty cool.