Today I drove to Ruhengeri in Northern Rwanda to do some focus groups and surveys on wood stoves. I now see why they call it the land of a thousand hills. It’s beautiful. Bright green terraced hills dominate the entire drive. The whole journey only took an hour and a half but we managed to cross half the country. Ruhengeri is known for mountain gorillas. I briefly considered booking a tour on Saturday until I found out it costs $500. Owch, maybe another time.
Today was a fantastic success. When we arrived at Mama Kaday’s home where we did the focus group, she quickly informed me that in Rwanda, guests must be fed before doing anything else. I can live with that. After eating breakfast, we talked about the stoves, cooked the food, talked some more, and had another incredible meal. We only cooked rice and cabbage on the stoves but Mama Kaday made potatoes, chicken, beef, kale, beans and bananas. I was blown away by her hospitality.
I saw the funniest thing today. Mama Kaday is the wife of a pastor so they have a church and a preschool on their property. The preschool has 250 kids in it, who as you can imagine are all fascinated by white people. When we arrived, most kids did what normal kids do and got out of the way of the oncoming car. However, the cutest fat 2 year-old I have ever seen is on the road ahead of us and starts running as fast as his chubby legs will carry him. He’s literally going two miles an hour and we’re gaining on him fast. Finally we stop at the church and my sprinting buddy walks up to me and hugs my leg. I was touched. Then of course I got mobbed by African preschoolers because everyone wanted to hug the muzungu’s legs. It’s definitely an experience I will never forget. I wanted to put up a picture of my fat friend but Rwandan internet is being slow. Maybe on facebook.