Having someone pick you up at the airport is almost like cheating - just too easy. Still, after we arrived to Kigali, Rwanda, I was grateful to see one of the program heads, Paul, when we walked out of the baggage area. We got a cab and headed to our hotel just barely down the road to drop off our bags before meeting some people for dinner. Luckily, even after traveling for 36 hours, me and Stephanie were surprisingly awake when we got here.
I didn’t see much from the airport to the hotel since it was only about a half of a mile and we arrived around 7 PM, just after sunset. Later, however, I could look out over different parts of the city as the three of us road across town, each on the back of our own Moto-taxi. The town is fairly spread and since nothing is too big or too tall, you can usually see a good distance in any direction depending on what part of the hill you happen to be on. The gentle roll to the area helps the house windows and street lamps create an impression of a net of lights draped over the city’s swells. It’s nice.
We met some of the project leads and ate at buffet style, outdoor restaurant – good, heavy food. It was great to meet everyone and we had some interesting conversations. Since me and Stephanie were the first to arrive, I think that this was a good, calm way to get introduced as opposed to after the next 100 or so students all get into town.
Outside of this program, I do not know when I would get the chance to come to Rwanda, but am very grateful to have this experience. This is a country known for genocide and sadness but this is not just the site of atrocious events which once took place – people still work here, go to school here, raise families and live here. My time spent here, what has passed already and what will soon pass as well, will help me to understand Rwanda a bit better – will help me be able to locate a certain event within the country’s history as opposed to identify the country by a certain event. I really like what I have seen and experienced so far and I think that the next two weeks will be good – but this is certainly something outside of what I have experienced before.