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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 05 Apr 2009

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapJambo Everyone,
We had a nice day today..not too busy. Woke up to heavy rain but it did clear up for the afternoon. We spent some time in the morning sorting through all of the gifts/supplies we brought and then headed off to the Kigali Memorial Centre.
This is my third time visiting the museum and it doesn’t impact me any less. With the 15year anniversary of the Genocide coming up this week and emotions running high in the city, everything that happened here in Rwanda really affects you.
We left the Centre walking and tried to phone for a cab but of course our cell phone had run out. We bought one yesterday for $40 and thought it came with 500 minutes. Turned out it must have been 500 seconds….I don’t know.. but we only used it three short times! We walked through crowds of locals and were trying to figure out what to do and where to go. All I will say here is I'm sure everyone was a little over-sensitive, having just spent three hours hearing/seeing/reading horror stories at the Memorial Centre, we were all hungry and also, it’s always a little un-nerving being in a crowd, not really knowing where you’re going and having everyone stare at you. Our different personalities were very evident at this point but we managed to keep things under control. Just when we found someone to help us find our way to a bus stop, a cab/van pulled over so we hopped in.
We were planning on going to a market to buy some baskets but had the usual struggles with the language barrier and ended up being driven to the embassy area instead. Turns out the cab drivers did know what they were doing and had taken us to a different, but equally good market. We bought some great baskets, etc, that we can use for fund-raising when we get home.
We walked up to Hotel des Mille Collines (the hotel from the movie “Hotel Rwanda.”) for a drink. We were disappointed to find that the hotel was under renovations and the pool area was barricaded off. I have a book called “A Sunday by the Pool in Kigali” which takes place at Mille Collines. Since it was Sunday we really wanted to sit by the pool and have a drink! Instead we sat in the new patio area and the five of us ordered a beer while Liz had her usual mug of milk.
We liked and trusted the two young guys from the cab that we used earlier so we called them later to take us back to our hotel and then booked them ‘on call’ for the day on Monday. We have a big day shopping for the sponsor child visits in Nyamata, going to the catholic church here in Kigali that was a site of massacres during the genocide, going to the memorial where the Belgium soldiers were killed and of course, more shopping at the awesome market we found today. We will meet with Costa, from World Vision, later in the day and hopefully will get to meet his wife and new baby, Queenie! That’s it for today…I put a few pictures on Facebook and will try to put some on here later.