It takes a full day of travel by the time we leave Warsaw at 6am and arrive in Kigali Rwanda at 7.30pm, journey made very comfortable by the exit seats we manage to snag 🙂
It is dark and flying in over Africa we start seeing sporadic round dots of light indicating small communities on the way. We are blown away at how attractive, new and architecturally creative the capital looks.
This is a country that underwent a terrible period of unrest and genocide in 1994, where close to 1 million people were slaughtered. It is almost impossible to believe how a country in which every family lost many of its members can reconciliate in such a short period of time, and yet we see it palpably in the streets. Rwanda is the safest African country at the moment and stands 5th safest in the world. We are warned that we can not bring any plastic bags into the country it is forbidden! The streets leading to our hotel are wide, tree lined and very, very clean. Every last Saturday of the month they have a clean up of the country in the morning. Everyone, I mean everyone contributes and through that awareness is raised.
We are staying not quite in the “tourist” district and so we get a local flavor on the streets. There is a lot of security, most buildings have a metal detector as you go in and a guard, mostly without a weapon. We come across a sign we have only previously seen in South Africa.
The women are strikingly beautiful and carry themselves with amazing grace and dignity. We are later told that skinny is not a desirable shape and a women needs a little fullness to be attractive to the boys, we however see that normal healthy weight seems the norm. Rwanda is extremely fertile being at the base of volcanoes and so food is in good abundance.
Kigali is home to the Hotel des Milles Collines on which the movie ” Hotel Rwanda” was based, we meet a film crew from the BBC filming a documentary sequel to the post genocide documentary they filmed in 1996. It is being called “Rwanda the Miracle”. The filmmaker tells us about how rapid the change has been here and it is a message to share with the world about Rwanda’s people.