Cheryl gives a fun and informative tour of The Musanze Opportunity Center…
It’s been a busy and challenging 7 months since I last reported on our efforts, and today, I’m VERY happy to report that we have finished a long journey… to our beginning… let me explain.
Last September, I reported that we had decided to focus our efforts on Housing and Education, and we’re even more committed to that focus now than we were then, but how do you begin such a quest to Confront Poverty with Opportunity? Well, for us, the short answer is the
Musanze Opportunity Center
From day one, we have known that to make a significant impact here in Musanze we would need MUCH more horsepower on the ground than just Cheryl and I. Musanze Inc has been called to a herculean task that will take a great many years and a great many committed, capable and passionate people to accomplish, but the challenge, in a developing place like Musanze, is how do you get these incredible people living here, thriving here and productive here.
Experience has shown, over and over again, that short-term people rarely accomplish much of lasting value because it just takes time, lots of time, to help a community transform itself from its present reality to its hoped for future.
Experience has also shown, over and over again, that long-term people burn out and leave when they’re on their own because living and working in a strange land drains your energy every day so without the proper support and the ability to recharge, burnout is inevitable… So what’s the solution?
People Living in Community
It’s in community that long-term people get the support and recharging they need to survive, thrive and produce results.
It’s in community that short-term people contribute to a sustained initiative that will continue building on their valuable efforts.
Community is the answer, but how do you achieve it? Well, in a place like Musanze, you need a modern, secure housing facility that allows both long-term residents and short-term guests to live in productive, Biblical community… That’s why a housing facility became our quest. We spent months looking at what we thought was our only option which was to buy some land and build some homes… but wait… God had another option.
Enter Strabag… an enormous, Austrian construction company founded in 1835 with $20 billion in 2010 revenues and 80,000 employees. Since 1891, Strabag has been building roads, bridges, tunnels, dams, power plants, railroads and other major infrastructure all over the world which is what brought them to Rwanda. They came to Rwanda to build roads, and they built some great ones right here in Musanze.
With over 100 years of experience, Strabag knows how to go into a foreign, undeveloped country and Get Stuff Done! What’s their winning formula?… They build a modern, secure housing facility for their executive and management team so they can be productive and accomplish their mission… (sound familiar?) And that’s exactly what they did in Musanze which is where our paths crossed.
In 2006, Strabag built a 17 home campus here in Musanze, and when I heard about it, I immediately wanted to see it. I mean, why reinvent the wheel. Strabag has built dozens of these campuses around the world so I wanted to learn from their expertise before we began building our own. After a good deal of effort, I was finally allowed to tour the campus which is when God’s option exploded into view.
Not only was this facility EXACTLY what we had been planning and envisioning, it was also VACANT! As it turns out, Strabag had completed their work in Rwanda way ahead of schedule (I can only imagine in part due to how incredibly productive this campus had made them).
After some investigation, I found out that the Government of Rwanda now owned the campus and they were looking for a purpose for the facility that would serve the people of Rwanda. They didn’t want to just sell the homes or have them become another hotel in a place with already too many hotels. They wanted this facility to be used exactly as they saw Strabag use it… which was to help build the future of Rwanda… That’s where we come in.
To make a LONG story short, with God’s blessing and provision, Musanze Inc has successfully negotiated and executed a 15 year renewable lease with the Government of Rwanda to turn the Strabag campus into the Musanze Opportunity Center
We Have Our Base of Operations!!!
And Now… We Begin… So what’s the plan? How are we going to use this incredibly functional facility to Confront Poverty with Opportunity? Great question! Stay tuned for our complete action plan. For now, I’ll leave you with these three words: English – Hospitality – Construction