After giving her TEDx talk in Luxembourg, Marion returned via The Hague to visit family. They have a lovely pier there, and at the end of the pier, a piano looking out at the sea.
Of course, her first instinct was to open it up and see what was inside. Looks like a pre-bombing Dresden-made piano.
|Cute Little Handle Detail|
Not in too shoddy condition. Certainly a lot better than the grand we saw in Bukavu.
There are so many abandoned and unwanted pianos. When Marion was in the UK earlier in the year, her father mentioned a piano sitting on the street waiting to be taken to the tip. Gumtree and Craigslist are full of unwanted instruments looking for new homes, and we regularly get people asking us whether shipping second-hand pianos to Rwanda would be a good idea.
It would be a lovely idea - a very lovely one - but unfortunately impractical.
Although the pianos are often free, getting them to the docks, hiring a shipping container, then getting them overland from the port in Kenya to landlocked Rwanda is certainly not cheap, not to mention the import duty we'd be looking at.
On top of that, the type of pianos being given away sometimes have serious issues, such as broken or rusted bass strings, slipping tuning pins or rotting hammers. At the moment, we need to import fairly costly parts to fix all of those issues, and again pay duty.
By the time you add everything up, it's more cost effective for us to continue trying to build pianos here, and looking for new solutions to some of the parts we need to import. And, although it would be wonderful to have a stock of old pianos from Europe to refurbish, there are plenty of those lying around Kigali - it's just a case of convincing people to invest in their restoration.