“No such thing as un-possible” in Rwanda

Rwanda offered up a new life lesson today.

After two great days in the field, in Nyamagabe district, on Monday and Tuesday I was really excited to come into the office on Weds and write up my stories and sort through the photos. I had just completed on a major deadline and was feeling great and on top of things.

Imagine my horror when shortly after loading my SD card into my USB reader I was informed that it was corrupted. NONE of 500+ images could be found. Cue sweating, nausea, a looming bottomless pit of despair.

Kindly friends reminded me that Google is my friend but in this case he was that friend that offers advice that you’d rather they kept to themselves. In a panic, I went to see the amazing Euthyme, VSO Rwanda’s IT guru. He was also clueless but his reaction was a polar opposite to mine.

“Nothing is un-possible,” he said.

He went on to explain his thesis that, “with these things, it is like being a surgeon, when things go wrong you cannot panic”, and that “with technology there is nothing that cannot be fixed.”

These might have been platitudes but they lifted me from despair to delirious amusement.

So we started looking for solutions. I won’t bore you with the details but neither free software nor attempts at a manual recovery worked – though they did relieve me in the sense that the data was recoverable.

On day two of SD card-gate, Euthyme tried a different tack: “Can’t you get someone to help of you?”

Fighting the voice saying that even this incredibly patient man must be tiring of me, I sucked up my pride and emailed/messaged/called everyone that might be able to help or at least know how to begin.

After only a couple of unbearable hours of silence and apologetic virtual shrugs, an amazing photographer friend came through for me with an offer of free promotional software.

Long story short, it looked like even that wasn’t going to work – UNTIL IT DID!

The quickest route to a girl's heart is through the gift of life-saving software
The quickest route to a girl’s heart is through the gift of life-saving software

Cue raptures, feelings of joy and triumph rarely experienced by a mortal. All my work was retrieved.

Cue massive hug with Euthyme. He said that this was like life:

  • Nothing is un-possible
  • Try, try and try again
  • Ask for help. Ask friends, colleagues, wider networks

He said if you always only panic to yourself you will get nowhere – and how true is that?

I don’t yet know what I am going to do to pay it forward. What I will do is plug Grant Pritchard – a talented and easygoing Kiwi photographer who I have had the pleasure of working with many times, and who I can confirm is also a brilliant human being. If you have a project that would benefit from his eye and professional expertise, you can check out his portfolio and get in touch with Grant on his website or Instagram.

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