Name: Nancy Zeller
Hometown: Amherst; moved to Keene after attending Keene State College; now lives in Westmoreland
Education: Bachelor of Arts from Keene State College, with a double major in psychology and arts; previously attended Franklin Pierce
Family: Husband, Jack
Occupation: President and founder of Rwanda one4one
Question: Do you have a better idea of what perceptions of the United States are in Rwanda after getting to know a pretty good sample size of people over there?
“They don’t ask questions like that. They all love America in so much as it’s the land of opportunity. That’s what they think, and it is, I suppose, you know, it is an amazing country. Whereas they tend not to have opportunity. We’ve just had it — you can fly anywhere, you can do anything. So they just want to be around that. I’ve never felt that I was the evil American coming in to do something different.”
Question: What have you noticed about the recent rise in technology, especially with cellphones, over in Rwanda and how it affects the folks you keep in touch with?
“They really want it. Everybody wants it. Everybody I know in Rwanda has, if it isn’t a smartphone, at least something they can call people with, and if you call somebody in Rwanda, you have to answer the phone. Because you can’t just (ignore it), because they don’t have a voicemail. You have to pick it up and say, ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ And they never say goodbye. The just say, ‘Sawa,’ which just means ‘OK,’ and then they hang up. No one says, ‘Talk to you later.’ They just don’t do that, because they can call you anytime they want, because people have to answer. So I think for them to have a cellphone is huge, because they didn’t in the genocide, and I think for the older ones, this is a way they can write me and say, ‘Can you help me?’ or ‘Are you OK?’ ”