An interview with Patience Wema.
How did you end up here?!
I had come to Rwanda in November, from Kenya, to visit and attend the SME Banking and Forum Conference that was taking place in Kigali Convection Center. During that time, I sent applications to other companies based in Rwanda just to try my luck. However, there is something that stood out about Water Access Rwanda that made it more fascinating than the rest. Serving others. The company reached out to set up an interview which so happened to conflict with the SME Banking and Forum Conference schedule. The night before the interview, I read through WARwanda’s website and was amazed by the impact they’ve made in such a short time. What struck me the most is when I found that the Managing Director and I were the same age.
It was a chilly Wednesday morning on 15 November 2017 when I maneuvered my way through the unfamiliar streets of Kigali headed to WARwanda’s offices in Nyamirambo. Coincidentally, on my way to the interview, I met another applicant who was kind enough to take the lead until we arrived. I had prepared all documents that may be required and even some extra materials as I had no idea of how interviews in Rwanda were conducted.
Few minutes after my arrival, I was beckoned in for my interview. I enjoyed the flow of questions the MD asked and the topics she touched on. Although the interview environment was cool, intriguing and friendly, I could not reconcile the speculations that were on my mind. “What is the story behind this young lady? Why water? How in the world did she even begin?” Towards the end of the interview, she welcomed any questions which she answered all cheerfully. About a week after, I received an email congratulating me on being the best candidate! Imagine how that felt.
The position offered although new, was not largely different to what I worked on previously. However, it was/ still is a new field for me which was at first sort of overwhelming learning new dimensions all together. My first day at work mainly comprised with familiarizing myself with new tasks as per my JD. Over time, it has developed in me a thirst for a deeper understanding in obtaining ground water and well drilling process.
Based on the fact that Water Access Rwanda empowers young people to be solution providers, I am extremely grateful to the company for having believed in me enough to hire me. It truly meant a whole lot and I hope to work and serve to the satisfaction and exceed the expectation of the company. I look forward to a new chapter in my professional goals in conjunction with this prestigious company.
How does being part of a team that saved people from crocodiles feel?
I believe I have found my purpose in life through helping others. One of the most heart-breaking incidents was when two people lost their lives to crocodiles when fetching water at the Nyabarongo River, Mageregere. I feel so humbled being part of such an amazing team that assisted the Mageregere community members have access to safe and affordable drinking water.
What gives you daily motivation at work?
My main motivation at work lies behind knowing how many people rely on the services we provide. This is fulfilled through the effort and energy I put in to provide excellent services. I am also driven to lead a team by aiding the growth of everyone including myself and the teamwork power to uphold the company’s standards.
Is it always easy to work with other young people, especially as someone who takes over coordination when MD is not in office?
Leading a team is known to not always be a walkover. There are definitely those extents you will not see eye to eye with those you’re working with. Nonetheless, the WARwanda team is steered by our 2018 theme, ‘Being the workforce that Rwanda’s water scarce need and deserve’, which provides a solid platform for us to correlate and cooperate. Each person is self-driven and requires little supervision when performing their respective roles. I enjoy working with people who fall under my age bracket where we channel all our energy into something that impacts the society.
Which people have most impressed you in the office and what have you learnt from them?
We are a small team of 10 people based in the office. In the period I have worked with Water Access Rwanda, I can attest that I have takeaways from all my colleagues in the office. However, as cliche as this may sound, Christelle Kwizera truly amazes me. If you've met her, you can testify on how she is knowledgeable- philosophical nature. I now have this desire to gain more knowledge for my benefit in diverse fields and how to expand my thinking capacity. Lately, I find myself reading more books and researching on new tools in business.
What do you look forward to coming into work?
I look forward to attaining more knowledge every single morning. My personal development time is not only the time allocated 4pm to 5pm but rather from the time I come in to end of day. I either learn something new or learn how to improve/ execute what I already know.