More Rambles around Rwanda

Road to Kigali

December 6, 2019 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌧 21 °C

Slept very well last night. The place I’m staying at is an ex Catholic Convent built, I guess, by the French or Belgiums, I must check. There are crucifixes everywhere and brings back childhood memories of a crucifix in nearly every room in Ireland along with a picture of jesus with his crown of thorns and his exposed bleeding heart in his chest gazing down at you, wherever you were in the room, with such an expression of sheep like martyrdom on his greenish tinted face. You imagined him saying: I died for you and there you are playing with your thing. You’ll go to hell, you’re BAD. Such are the memories of an Irish childhood resurrecting in an African town and met with scorn.

Anyway, the place had good beds and effective mosquito nets and a shower that was actually quite good.

As I’m in the cook group, I helped prepare breakfast but the two others on group had already started so I did what I was told and make toast and boiled the kettle. I like not having to think and following instructions.

After breakfast, I brought my possessions to the truck and walked down to a local museum for gorillas deviated to an interesting woman called Dian Fossey.

Kigali Genocide Memorial

December 6, 2019 in Rwanda ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

We viewed the genecide memorial in Kigali this afternoon. It was a very harrowing but moving experience.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi. It is an important place of remembrance and learning and receives visitors from all around the world.

We started with a video introduction to the Genocide and then followed a series of displays in the Rwandan language, French and English. It started with displays of Rwanda before the genecide and slowly build up the evidence chin

Here is a comment from a survivor of the Genocide. I saw a video of his testimony and it was very real and immensely moving and human.

The Kigali Genocide Memorial is like my home. It is where i go to be with my relatives. You feel happy being close to your loved ones.But then it becomes a place of grief because they are gone. I go home after visiting the memorial and leave them there. By Theoneste Karenzi, Genocide survivor

The memorial has five primary objectives:

1. To provide a dignified place of burial for victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi

2. To inform and educate visitors about the causes, implementation and consequences of the genocide, and other genocides in history.

3. To teach visitors about what we can do to prevent future genocides.

4. To provide a documentation centre to record evidence of the genocide, testimonies of genocide survivors and details of genocide victims.

5. To provide support for survivors, in particular orphans and widows.

Kigali, Capital of Rwanda

December 6, 2019 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌧 23 °C

Arrived in Kigali following our trip to the Genocide Memorial.

These road trips now have a pattern. They really consist of a series of stops. Sometimes we stop for a call of nature but surprisingly these are few. There are shops for photo opportunities when we pass by an interesting or beautiful place. Then there are stops to view interesting birds of animals. Often, our driver,  has very keen eyesight and spots things when driving. He beeps the horn a few times and we all peer out with peeled eyes to see if we can see what he sees. Usually we can. We often stop at local markets and supermarkets to buy supplies for cooking that day or the next. This could be viewed as a chore or as an opportunity to see Africa up and close. Guess which perspective I choose?

We didn’t get much of a chance to see the city as it was dark when we arrived and we leave tomorrow at 2pm for a pit stop camp before we hit the border for Tanzania 🇹🇿, our next country.

But, to tell the truth, I’m not mad keen about cities in Africa. It was different in Central Asia where all the interesting places were cities. Here, all interesting places are in the wild, in nature, outside the cities. Just like, after a thousand golden Buddhas, they all look the same. So is it with cities here in Africa, for me anyway . I approached them as a western tourist, not as a traveller.

We went out for a meal tonight as 4 of our fellow travellers are leaving today. We went to a restaurant patronised by westerners and affluent Africans. So, not your typical slice of Africa then.

The food was delicious though. I had chicken breast coated with cardamom and saffron marinade/coating and then cooked in tandoori oven. It came with a lovely sauce and cumin rice with a tasty local spinach as vegetable. My starter was avocado chips. They were tasty too. The whole meal came to 16€ including a coke. Not bad at all, at all, at all.

We finished around 11ish and we old ‘uns caught a taxi home. The millenniums went to a local pub for a session. They came back, noisily, at 2:30ish. A good night was had by all.

Kigali is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is near the nation’s geographic centre. The city has been Rwanda’s economic, cultural, and transport hub since it became capital at independence in 1962. The city hosts the main residence and offices of the President of Rwanda and government ministries. The city is within the province of Kigali City, which was enlarged in January 2006, as part of local government reorganisation in the country. Kigali’s city limits cover the whole province; it is consolidated. The city’s urban area covers about 70% of the municipal boundaries.

The centre of political and commercial life, Kigali dominates Rwanda and few visit the country without passing through. The city is developing fast, and is very much a showpiece capital designed to impress visitors, from the humble tourist, to foreign investors and visiting dignitaries.

With a population topping 1 million, the city spreads over several hills and valleys, with many of the better restaurants and hotels away from the traditional downtown area.

Happy Glampers

December 7, 2019 in Rwanda ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

Just a pit stop at this amazing women’s opportunity centre, Urugo Eco-Lodge. It is a centre for women to empower themselves.

If was raining when we arrived so instead of having the hassle of a wet tent, I upgraded to a safari deluxe tent with two beds, a shower, a composting toilet and electric light. Deluxe indeed! I shared with Scott. Cost $15 each. A result.

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