Monday, February 10, 2014

February 9: Exploring Kigali & Settling In

We stayed in Kigali last night and got the chance to meet with the people we will be working with. The rooms in the hotel we large but very few furnishings. There was a tub but no shower. Some of the other rooms had no running water though.

We had boiled eggs, potatoes and coffee for breakfast. We all climbed in a small van to go to the main city so we could get our water we need for the two weeks. We had a chance to walk around and get a taste of what the city is like. The buildings are quite new and the streets are very clean. The city is much larger than I had imagined. Many people travel on motorcycles and the streets are crazy with drivers passing each other at any opportunity they get. One thing that struck me was that almost everyone was dressed so nicely. There were a lot of people who carried cell phones. The people were so eager to say hi or smile as we walked by.

We visited the Genocide Memorial and it was a an extremely emotional experience. So many lives were lost needlessly. The Rwanda's have been able to overcome this atrocity and move ahead with their lives. I'd suggest that if you get a chance, learn as much as you can about the genocide. It's hard to believe it happened only 20 years ago.

Next, we traveled to Gashora where we are working on our project. The resort we are staying at is very pretty and is situated beside a very large lake. We each have our own rooms. It's a 12' x 12' room with only a bed and a resin chair. We had a traditional dinner of rice, potatoes, vegetables and chicken. They grow pineapples in the fields beside our rooms. They were delicious! There bathroom facilities are extremely outdated. Sometimes no water and mostly cold water.

The beer here we found is very good. Primes is the name. They come in large 720ml bottles. Probably had too many last night!

The group enjoying a beer together

The team we are with is a lot of fun. Our Rwandan helpers are so funny and helpful. They all know at least three languages. Their English is very good. 

All of the food we've had so far has been quite bland. Not a lot of spices are used and the meals contain a lot of starch. Most families only eat once per day. Lama, head of Building Bridges with Rwanda, said that cooking is more of a chore for them so there's not a lot of effort put into the cuisine. He compared this to the European countries where they love to cook and eat.

It's about a 2km walk to the place where we are working on the Covaga Innovation Centre project. It has rained both nights, but seems to clear up in the morning.

Well, it's time to head out and get some breakfast before we walk to out to the job site.

Todd Drake
DWC Volunteer Participant
Rwanda, February 2014

No comments: