I made it to Kigali! My first impression is that it’s really different from Nairobi. The city is beautiful. It’s surrounded by hills you have to climb whenever you want to go somewhere. There’s no traffic, no pollution and no trash on the ground. Crazy. And I’ve made it a point to ride a motorcycle taxi at least once a day. There’s nothing like riding down a huge hill on a moto with the rushing wind in your face, knowing that you’re in Africa.
Even though it’s aesthetically superior, I still miss Nairobi. It’s hard working in Kigali because of the language barrier. I need to learn French. And I feel like there is more of a dependency mentality here. People expect me to give them money because I’m white whereas Noirobeans are used to wazungu. Besides that, it’s really hot in Kigali and there are tons of mosquitoes. I know those are dumb reasons, but you have no idea how much I hate mosquitoes.
Another thing I’ve noticed about Kigali is that there is a huge class difference. In Colorado we have tree lines on the mountains but in Kigali they have status lines. There is literally a point on the hills where the shacks stop and the mansions begin. In the valley there are dirt roads, poverty and no electricity. Right above them are the biggest houses I have seen in Africa.
On another note, I visited the Hotel des Milles Collines today where the film “Hotel Rwanda” took place. I must have sat on the balcony for 30 minutes contemplating what it would have been like just 17 years ago. I can’t really fathom it. Somehow picturing those things seems more like a movie than real life because my mind just can’t wrap itself around that level of insanity. 800,000 people died in the genocide, almost 10% of Rwanda. Overnight people changed from normal citizens to murdering their neighbors. I’m tempted to gasp in horror at the atrocities and say I would never do such a thing. But the humbling thing about genocide is that we are all capable of that level of evil given the right circumstances. You can’t say you would never do such a thing because you’ve never been in that situation. Humanity obviously is capable of unbelievable sins, which is why we needed Christ to save us.
Just some thoughts from Rwanda. Sorry I haven’t taken any pictures. It’s depressing to take pictures of yourself when you’re traveling alone.