Saturday, July 30, 2011


I didn't want to come to Rwanda.  It was kind of a forced decision.  I didn't want to leave the kids, my dog, etc.  Last time I renewed my visa, the office said some nonsense and only gave me a one month visa.  That meant I either had to change my plane ticket again and come home early or leave the country for a few days and go to a neighboring country.  Since I already changed my plane ticket once, it would have been crazy expensive to do it again.  Therefore, I gave in to Gina's insisting and agreed to take a break and go to Rwanda for a week.

The bus ride was interesting.  It left almost an hour late and was crowded.  After fighting for seats we finally got settled and the bus left.  Thankfully it left at night, so I was able to sleep most of the way.  However, the ride was terrible and I kept waking up thinking we were going to crash and I was going to die or throw up everywhere.  The driver was flying and the road seemed to be one huge pothole.  Every time we hit another one, I thought the bus was going to tip was just swaying back and forth.

When we finally got into Kigali and got off the bus, we were greeted with many taxi drivers.  We chose one and we started our journey of finding a place to stay.  The guest house we wanted to stay at was full but recommended another one.  We couldn't find contact info for it before we left so we just decided to come and see what happened.

Rwanda is very different from Uganda.  The differences were apparent from the second I stepped off the bus.  For example:

  • The very first thing I noticed about Rwanda is how green it was.  It is an absolutely beautiful country and there are flowers and plants everywhere, even in the city.  
  • Next thing I noticed was how clean everything is.  There isn't trash littering the streets and a terrible stench from rotting trash.  
  • One of the biggest differences is the traffic.  It drives on the right side of the road and always the side it is supposed to.  People aren't continuously honking and almost crashing.  It moves in an orderly fashion.  The roads aren't one huge pothole.  The bodas only carry one person and everyone wears helmets.  They are also required to wear vests that signify that they are certified.  Most importantly, traffic stops for people and sidewalks are only for people(as opposed to bodas, cars, and taxis in Kampala).
  • Probably one of my favorite differences is when I walk out I am not called muzungu a million times.  It is nice to just be and live life without being singled out and screamed at.
  • It is also quiet here.  It has given me time and space to think.  There aren't cars honking, trucks blaring music and advertisements, people shouting, etc.  There aren't street vendors (they are illegal) so you can actually walk down the sidewalk or street without having to shout at the person with you or fight your way through a crowd.  It isn't congested at all.  
  • Everything is super expensive here.  Way more than Kampala.  This is a huge inconvenience especially if you are trying to have a budget.  The prices are closer to prices you would have in the US.
  • The food is delicious.  We have eaten at 2 buffets that are considered local food.  The food was amazing, definitely not the posho and beans I am used to.  This morning I had bread for breakfast and it was super fresh and by far the best bread I have had in a long time.
I am loving it here and now that I am here I can see how needed this break was and am glad I came.  However, as crazy as Kampala is, I am missing it...  

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