Encounter in Rwanda

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https://understandinguncertainty.org was produced by the Winton programme for the public understanding of risk based in the Statistical Laboratory in the University of Cambridge. The aim was to help improve the way that uncertainty and risk are discussed in society, and show how probability and statistics can be both useful and entertaining.

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I was working on a project in Ruhengeri in northern Rwanda, but had to go to the capital at the week-end because of dental trouble. I’d just got back to the hotel after a visit to the dentist, and was having a lunchtime drink in the bar when an old gentleman walked past, looking for a seat. I greeted him “Mwirirwe neza, Mzee.” (Good afternoon, elder.) and he sat down at my table. We started chatting in French, and he said he was from Ruhengeri, and he used to work at the university here. Where was I from? England. “Oh, I have a daughter who lives in Scotland. She has 2 sons, and they are at present here in Kigali.” So I asked him, “Is her name, by any chance, C****** M****?” He was amazed, and asked, “How can this be?” 2 years earlier when I was on my way home, I met a Rwandese lady in the Kenya Airways lounge at Nairobi airport. She had 2 boys with her, aged about 6 and 2. We got talking – there was a 6 hour delay before my flight to Amsterdam – and it turned out that she was going on the same flight to Amsterdam, then on to Glenrothes in Fife. The older boy was interested to see pictures of steam trains on my computer, and the lady loved the film clips I had of the folk dancers at the hotel I stayed at in Kinigi. We exchanged e-mail addresses, and later, Christmas cards. Then, this Christmas she sent me an e-mail to say that they were going to be in Rwanda for 6 months from January on a project from her church in Glenrothes. I told her that I would also be in Rwanda in the new year, and she asked me to visit the family whilst I was in the country. The long and the short is that she’d invited me to meet the family and a friend later that day – but of all the million people who live in Kigali, the one who came to sit at my table was her father!
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Date submitted:Sat, 14 Jan 2012 10:10:41 +0000Coincidence ID:3790