Rwanda recovering …..

Our first impressions of Rwanda were not good, for only the second time in Africa we had folks test the security of the car in broad daylight in front of staring onlookers, who did nothing…
However, we are assured by many people that Rwanda is actually very safe in general including a number of people who live here full time so we are prepared to give it a chance.
Before Poppy leaves we go to the Genocide Memorial Gardens in Kigali and the preserved monument to the Belgian Peacekeepers, both were very well done and deeply unsettling, a grim reminder, if we need it, that stirring up groups against each other with misinformation and polarisation eventually gets people killed. We were a bit down then a lovely group of people from Ghana lifted the mood and a video chat with Lee from the car park put us out of our dark mood.
We stay in a nice hotel in Kigali so Poppy can sort out her stuff for the flight home and I drop her at the airport for the flight home.
I am now travelling for the last few weeks on my own, intentionally, although travelling with a copilot makes great sense from a safety point of view I find that travelling by myself leads to much more interaction with local people. So it proves once again. I stop on my way to Kibuye on the lake in a little guest house, one of the staff Emanuel, befriends me offering local food and the owner arrives, he brings me along to watch the Champions league final, by the time the night is out Emanuel is doing a guided tour of my truck explaining the features to the rest of the staff in local language.
The run to the lake is easy and very senic, there are people everywhere this is a very densly populated country, so practicle problems, like where to stop for a pee, arise, but the feeling is much more friendly than in the towns and I find a nice welcoming place to stay on the lakeside, borrow a kayak and head off exploring.
As I write this I am playing Van Morrision on the resorts sound system, now the friendly days guests have left, while watching the sun set over the lake, warming to Rwanda, slowly
The intensive cultivation in Rwanda seems well organised, we pass many miles of paddy fields and plantations for coffee and bananas
I did not take any pictures in the Genocide Memorial, seemed disrespectful at the grave of 250,000 people, this is the memorial to the Belgian soilders who were guarding the president and defended themselves after being disarmed with just two pistols before being killed
somber after the memorials we were cheered up by a lovely group of people from Ghana
the towns are busy with moto taxis crowding together at the junctions
Now on my own I stop occasionally for a photo or a comfort break on the way to the lake, every time I do people appear
Even half way up a mountain this little chap appeared from nowhere
Some UN armoured cars being moved in a convoy there were about 20 trucks like this
Emanuel welcomed me to the guest house car park and offered me some of the local food, my small sample was actually quite tasty, and no bad after effects!
By the end of the evening, the Champions league final over, he is giving local language tours of my truck under my watchful eye
The remaining drive to the lake is very hilly, the road clinging to steep hills, possibly the most scenic of all my drives in Africa
Occasionally the forest breaks and the scale and intensivity of the cultivation is apparent with terracing that I last saw in the Andes
I approach lake Kivu and there is a white castle newly built in the distance, quite odd
I borrow one of the places kayaks, they were expecting me to play around just off the beach and were a bit surprised when I headed off around the distant islands
Local kids out on the lake without a care in the world, would not pass a risk assesment at home
returning to the little resort Nelson between the palm trees, a nice spot for a leisurly afternoons catch up

About Gerry Mulligan

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