This blog & me2017-10-12 08:16:00 by Brad Elliott
On Friday May 5th 2017, just before midnight, the plane carrying our family touched down in Kigali, Rwanda. We had arrived in Africa on a one-way ticket. Along with my wife and son, there were five suitcases carrying the belongings that we would need for the following three months, while a container on board a ship arrived from our previous home in Switzerland. My wife was due to go to work the following Monday as usual, while my son, in one of the many advantages of being 3, was excited about the fact that there would be a swimming pool in our temporary accommodation and anxious to set up his train track in a new living room.
I, on the other hand, was unemployed. I had just left a company I had worked for since 2008, a high-ranking well-paid job where I was respected and valued. And yet I felt exhilarated. It was me who had pushed for us to go to Rwanda rather than another country. I was looking for a new challenge, after the numbing comforts of living in one of the richest, luckiest countries on the planet. I had become coddled. Mollified. Blunted. I wanted new challenges, new experiences that helped me further along my quest to understand myself better and understand the world better. And maybe, just maybe, make this part of the world slightly better too.
This blog is the story of my adventure in Rwanda. I will be outlining what happens as I seek to create a business that reflects my values, helps people progress, while maintaining a healthy work-life balance. I will post vignettes on aspects of living in Kigali, and travelling around Africa in general and anything else that I think might be of interest to the casual reader, Africa-phile or specialist pedagogue equally.
In the summer of 2016 we received final confirmation, after months of speculation, that my wife would have to reapply for her job and if successful, be relocated somewhere in the ‘global south and east’. We had been living an idyllic existence in a mountain chalet just outside a small Swiss village for 7 years at the time. I had a successful job running one of Switzerland’s largest language schools in Geneva, managing a team of over fifty staff – a job that was both challenging and rewarding. But I felt the call for something more. Whatever we do in life there is always a goal inside us that is driving us. Sometimes we don’t realize that it is happening and we don’t know why or even know we don’t know. But I knew enough of myself in 2016 that I needed a change.