NPR

Daring To Dream: A Carpenter Tries To Build A Piano In Rwanda

If he succeeds, it would be the first piano made in his country — and the first made in Africa since 1989. Skeptics wonder if it's an impossible mission.
Source: Chris Nickels for NPR

It's Monday afternoon and Désiré Mulumeoderwa is alone in his workshop, an oasis of quiet and creativity from the parade of motorbikes and perpetual hustle outside on Kigali's streets. The mud floor is littered with planks of wood in all shapes and sizes, scraps of plastic and other discarded materials Mulumeoderwa uses in his carpentry work.

Chairs, cupboards and bed frames are in various stages of construction around the dimly-lit shop. Off in a corner by the door is a project unlike any other.

Mulumeoderwa is building an upright piano.

It's a new undertaking for the carpenter of 20 years — and for Rwanda. The finished product would be the first Rwandan-made piano, a musical milestone for this landlocked East African country. It would also be the first such instrument produced in Africa since South Africa-based Dietmann, a German company, shut down production in 1989.

But the road to victory is a difficult one. Much like Rwanda, which is known as the "land of a thousand hills," the mission to build a piano faces .

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