I thank Sam Kebongo for the article, “Why do we import cure-dent from China?”, (The New Times, July 13). What I would like to say is that toothpicks can also be made from wood and that there are machines specifically for that. Toothpick manufacturing is an industry overlooked in Rwanda, though it requires a substantial amount of money. The machines are available for sale in China – it is a matter of finding the investor(s).
On another note away from toothpicks, Rwanda is setting an example to its East African neighbours, especially Kenya. Take, for instance, Umuganda. The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, accompanied by his wife Margaret, launched a monthly clean-up exercise for the city of Nairobi. The clean-up will take place every last Saturday of the month.
Kenyatta urged the youth to embrace this exercise instead of engaging in the consumption of illicit drugs and alcohol. Among those present ws the Governor of the Nairobi County, Dr. Evans Kidero.
In another development, Mwangi wa Iria launched a programme called “One Youth One Cow”. Sounds familiar? You bet. It is similar to the “One Cow Per Household” for needy families in Rwanda. And how about the “One Laptop Per Child” in schools? Yes, Kenya has that, too.
Although the ‘‘One Laptop per Child’’ is still in planning stages (now the Kenyan Government is considering substituting computer for tablets), the government has set aside 600 million USD for the initiative. Critics say that there are many areas of education that need addressing first, such as teachers’ training, reliable power supply and the scarcity of teachers.
The Kenyan Government is, however, unmoved and will go ahead with the project.
Michael Rwiyamilira, USA
Sam, thanks for the insight and call for creativity. I agree with you that we should try ways we can use all we have to have toothpicks made at home.
Besides bamboos in abundance in Musanze or elsewhere, we can use eucalyptus trees. Five huge Eucalyptus trees can easily supply the whole country for a year, if not more.
It is a question of creativity, patience and means/capital. My main concern is that most of our compatriots either want to start big, or they copy each other too much.
Think of the proliferation of wedding/clothes/decorations shops, pharmacies, supermarkets of all sizes, etc. All of them next to each other! What the country needs is creativity and uniqueness.
Andrew Rusa, Kigali, Rwanda
We have everything to put home-grown technology in motion