Day 1 – Arriving in Rwanda
We made it, and it was an uneventful trip like expected. We did get delayed from Oslo due to very heavy icing on the plane resulting in the longest de-icing I’ve been part of.
In Stockholm the rest of tye group joined the flight and it was not that hard to see who they were in the group of people boarding the flight.
We got to Addis Ababa on basically om time and had a four hour wait until our flight to Kigali.
Getting into Rwanda has been the fastest experience in Africa so far in my life. I did the Visa application online and got accepted within 20 minutes, and when I came to the passport control it basically took the time it takes for the customs officer and fill in the visum. A great start to the trip.
When we got out of the airport we were met by our driver, Jonas, and his wife Angelica who is responsible for the food for their trip. After a quick trip to the exchange office for som Rwanda Franc we drow the short bot to out camp site.
Camp site would be a over exaggeration, as those are not common in Rwanda. Our first camp was then in the parking lot of a sports club that once was a hotel. The hotel is gone, but there is still a small restaurant and the sports club has bath and shower facilities that we can use.
After parking the bus we had out initial briefing and I volunteer to be part of the roofing team. After our initial briefing, we put up the roof and then had some time to settle in before our welcome dinner in the restaurant next door.
For those that had not experienced eating out in Africa this was a good introduction to what the rest of our trip will be.
The food is great, however the service operates in mysterious ways. For starters we got a, very peppered, spinach soup. Or we think that is what we got. And of course they forgot the last six of us, that the got the starter after the main course.
The main course was spear of barbecued meat and some very nice baked potatoes. After the dinner everyone went to bed, some for the first time sleeping on the bus. With limited sleep on the long flights it did not take long for me to fall asleep.
Day 2 – Touring Kigali
Day two is the first proper day of travelling on Rwanda, and the day that in many ways was the toughest. Most of the day we spent visiting the memorial of the 1994 genocide. This is a terrifying part og history that is so very close in many ways. It relay showed me how brutal humans could be, 1.5 million people, butchered with matchetes and sticks in as little as three months. I know I heard about all this in the need back then, buy it is not untill you see the scull and bones, blod stained walls and testemonies from the survivors that you realize what a true horror this must have been.
And the worst part? Looking back in history there are fare to menu stories like this, and looking forward, God know what is happening in places like the Ukraine, or other less know conflicts around the world.
We visited a few places in and around Kigali this day. The Kigali memorial, a museum and mass grave. The site where 12 Belgian UN troops was overun and killed on the first day of the genocide and in the afternoon we visited a church just outside Kigali where people we taking refuge. Thinking that the government and militia would not attack there.
They were wrong. Holes was blown into the corners of the buildings, grenades were thrown in and to whoever survived was slashed down with matchetes. Children in the Sunday school was bashes against the walls. Pregnant women was raped and vombs cut open to see that Tutsi children was different that Hutu children. And the old people burned alive.
This has to be the most horrid stories I have ever been told. And it is so close, a lot of the people we met has stories from these times. And still there seem to have forgiveness between people. There are still people fighting for this clensing, however people here now seem to be very proud of beeing Rwandans.
However the day was not all about negativity and death. I’m the afternoon while having dinner og of my fellow travelers got down on his knees and proposed to his girlfriend. A spontaneous act, but what a great end to the day.
Tomorrow we will have our first longer drive. We are the heading north to Musanze.
Day 3 – Kigali to Musanze
Finally on the road again. This time we had a resonably short drive.
Rwanda is very lush and green, and it reminds me in many ways of Colombia. Green steep hills and winding rounds.
When we got to Musanze we had a quick lunch and the most of us headed out of town. Out Rwandan tour guide is part of a community center that has started in his grandfathers little town. Our first stop was at his grandfathers house where we got a little glimpse on how daily life is in the villages. Of course a pink bus with 21 white people seem to drive a crowd.
From there we went to the community center, there we were greeted by dancers performing their local welcoming dances for royalty, and we got to see how royalty would travle, and be housed traditionally. We then went on to learn how banan beer is traditionally produced and we got a quick taste of the final product.
In many ways it reminds me very much of the sour beer that mas started becoming popular at home. Not my cup of tea.
Back at or camp site for the next two days I had dinner and the got ready for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we will go up in not the national park and I will be part of a group that will be looking for the Golden Monkeys.