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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 05 Jun 2010

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapSaturday, June 5th

We didnít make any progress in finding our elusive crate today. The email that Iíd received from Diamond Shipping asking us to contact AMI Kigali led me to believe that it was a trucking company we were looking for. The phonebook here for a city of over 1,000,000 people is only ½Ē thick and doesnít appear to have very many actual phone numbers in it. No one that we talked to had heard of them. When I Googled ĎAMIí I found that it was a company that transported coffee. It was Denise who figured out that the letters were in the wrong order and yes, there was an IMA Kigali and she even provided me with an address. We took a cab down and I couldnít believe when I saw the building that it was in was the one Iíd actually been in two weeks ago when Yves and I ran into the Bangladeshi who called his friend to help us. It turns out that IMA stands for International Marine Agency and itís a government office (which happens to be closed on Saturdays.) We didnít get to actually see the crate but left feeling optimistic that we might get some answers first thing Monday morning!

I had been invited out to spend the night in Nyamata at Franklinís so left Heike and Rylan to do their own thing in Kigali for the night. I hoped on a motorbike and headed up to the busy bus section of town. Even though I feel very comfortable alone in this city, this is one area where it can be a little unnerving. There are three intersecting roads all with mini-buses and vans lined up everywhere. People tend to crowd around you, trying to sell you everything including phone cards, gum, fruit and boiled eggs. The men crowded around me, all advising me on which bus I should take and where I should stand. I realized I had gotten there early and would have to wait another 45 minutes in this mayhem. Suddenly I heard someone call my name and there in a van parked nearby, was Chartine, the head of the Nyamata World Vision ADP, whom I had gotten to know on previous visits. She and her husband crawled out and offered to wait and take the next one with me. It was really nice to see her again!

After dropping my stuff off at Franklinís, his wife Christella, daughter Laura, their friend Jean-Claude and I headed over to an outdoor community dance featuring a live band. It was a magical night that Iíll never forget. As soon as we arrived many of the kids that were dancing in the large common area came running up to greet me. The music was a ménage of country, reggae and African and my dozens of little dance partners and I danced to every song. The children kept trying to touch my hair and were all clamouring to hold my hands. I remember looking around at Franklinís family, all the little kids, the teenagers break-dancing, the young men dancing together along with everybodyís parents and I just felt so fortunate to be able to be a part of this community. I even ran into a few people whom Iíd met on previous trips. Everyone was so friendly and excited that I was there; it was a great feeling. We ended walking home exhausted after 1 pm and I became the first Ďmzunguí to ever stay at Franklinís house. What an honour!!!!!!! I felt bad that Rylan and Heike had missed out on this wonderful evening.