Beautiful Rwanda

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
1
16
23
Trip End Ongoing


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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Firstly, apologies for the delay...a lot has happened since my last entry, but have struggled to find a decent internet connection.

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Rwanda has pleasantly surprised us. We checked in to our basic accommodation and wandered around the vicinity. The locals act as if they've never seen a tourist before, so we got a lot of stares...but nothing that made us feel uncomfortable. The people of Kigali seem gentle and kind. We enjoyed an early night, as we needed some catch-up shut-eye!

We woke to the sound of chirping birds on our window-sill. It was a nice way to be woken, however not at 5am. Today we wanted to check out the city centre. Upon asking the guy on reception how far it was, he told us 2km, so we decided to walk it. After 45 minutes under the blistering sun, the city centre was still nowhere to be seen, so we asked a local passing by. He suggested we jump in a cab, as the city centre was still 7km away...bugger! He helped us negotiate a fare, and we were on our way. We visited Hotel des Mille Collines aka 'Hotel Rwanda.' It's hard to believe what occured during the genocide at this hotel, as it's back to operating as a 4 star hotel. Pooja and I sat by the pool and had a drink, before deciding to explore the rest of the city.

We walked through the main streets, and back alleyways getting a wee bit lost, but enjoyed ourselves all the same. We ended up walking through busy markets, with loads of mini-buses transporting people in all directions. A short time later, we realised there wasn't too much more to explore in the city, so we crammed ourselves onto a mini-bus with 28 others, and were whisked away, dropping off and picking up people as we went. Luckily a high school student tapped me on the shoulder when it was our stop, otherwise we still may be circling the city now.

At 6pm we met the group of travellers we would be spending the next 2 weeks with...most are aussies. It's a small group, and we're thankful for that. After a few lagers, we all went to dinner together - we had earlier spotted an Italian restaurant near the hotel. It was pretty good too! We had an early night.

We woke to the sound of our favourite birds again, stuffed our packs, ate breakfast and boarded our overland truck, which our tour leader (Frances) insists on calling the 'Ark.' We drove to the Genocide Memorial, which was one of the most moving places I have ever visited. Over 1 million Tutsis were butchered by the Hutus in 1994, whilst the world looked on in disbelief. We saw interviews with Tutsis who had lost their entire families, and looked at graphic image after graphic image. We also saw human skulls, bones, clothes worn by the victims, amongst many other things. We silently wept today...

I now understand why they call Rwanda the land of a thousand hills...it's very very hilly. We caravaned our way through the lush green hills to our next stop stop, in Musanze. This is at the foot of Volcano National Park, home to the magnificent Mountain Gorilla. The view was stunning from our campsite. It's an early start tomorrow...The Gorillas are waiting for us!

'If you must remember, remember this...The Nazi's did not kill six million jews...Nor the Interahamwe kill a million Tutsi's, they killed one, and then another, then another...
Genocide is not a single act of murder, it is millions of acts of murder.'
                               -
Stephen D. Smith, Executive Director, Aegis Trust, 2004
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Comments

Sagar Tipnis on

Hi Andrew,

Fabulous writing, dude! Keep those blogs coming :)

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