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Brenda’s Travel Diary

Friday, 06 Jul 2012

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapDenise

I’m writing this on the evening of our second day in Kigali, but with the usual problems with the internet it could be a while before it’s posted!

I was in at the beginning of The One Person Project back in 2006 and have had a lot of experience of the trips to Rwanda and Kahama…from the comfort of my own home in Summerland! Brenda on the other hand has headed six trips! It is Heike’s second visit and Erin, Mary and Sheena’s first. This year our main focus is education: Sheena and Heike are teachers, Erin is an EA, Mary has just graduated from High School, and I have experience working with children with support needs. (Peter had to cancel due to an injury.)

We flew Vancouver to Amsterdam and had a surprisingly comfortable nine hour wait before heading out to Nairobi, Kenya to discover that out flight to Rwanda had been cancelled so we’d have to wait a few more hours. I would love to entertain you with stories of how we roamed the narrow, crowded hallways and elbowed our way into the cramped shop fronts, and how we sat cross-legged on the floor sharing a bag of Doritos….but we were directed to the KLM Lounge where we had free internet and could help ourselves to food, wine and beer. Beer tastes good at eight in the morning, especially when you’ve been stood in a line (loose definition of line by the way) for an hour to get your boarding pass.

The flight to Kigali was uneventful, except for the fact that we did a quick drop off and pick-up in Burundi – not an African country I had expected to visit! Anyway – back to Kigali – I would love to entertain you with stories of how we’re sat cross-legged in the dust sharing a bag of Dortitos….but Kigali is a bustling city (a bit too bustling on the road ways – but more of that later!) with modern stores and some great restaurants, and we have eaten well so far. We have rooms at an inexpensive hostel, which is pretty basic but provides the essentials, including breakfast for just $12 for a double room per night. The hostel is in the small parish of St. Famille, a compound with a church a small store and café and is obviously en-route to the local school judging by the swarms of children we see every morning. We are on one of the many hills and can look across the city – and the smog that covers it – those bustling roads again!

We visited the Kigali Genocide Memorial museum today – a difficult day as you can imagine but I am just in awe of a society that can find the courage to move forward even though the emotional scars reflect the horror of those months in 1994 and the personal and national devastation that followed.

Later in the afternoon we visited a busy local market to buy the artisan baskets that the teams always bring back to sell at out silent auctions (our big gala is Nov. 3rd by the way so put it in your diary if you live in the Okanagan!) and enjoyed being the most popular people there!

We’re all taking turns to blog, and hopefully this will get posted soon. We all send our love to family and friends and hope to get some personal messages out soon.