Arrival in Kigali, Rwanda – 1st week
Welcome to the city of Kigali! This city is the capital of Rwanda and home to all of its foreign embassies. It is relatively small, and many locations are within walking distance. The main road where we are staying is paved and lined with beautiful plant life. The traffic is a little hectic, but still very safe for pedestrians. The people here are fairly soft spoken and polite, so us noisy Americans might have to tone it down a little.
If the climate in Rwanda had to be described in a single word, that word would be “perfect”. The average temperature is warm, but still cool enough to be comfortable. There is no humidity, and it cool enough at night to sleep comfortably with the windows open. There are very few bugs, aside from the occasional mosquito. The only downside it is dark by 6 pm as we are only a few degrees south of the equator.
When I first began preparing for Rwanda, I was very worried about what to pack. The culture of Rwanda seemed so far removed and impossible to predict. Sure, I read everything I could get my hands on about the culture, but nothing can truly convey what an entire culture is like with a few words.
So, being only vaguely informed about what was considered “appropriate dress” for the culture, I went out and bought anything I thought might help me blend in.
Fortunately, I have good news. In Kigali, the fashion is pretty much the same as the U.S. The only requirement is; no skirts or shorts above the knees, and no sheer clothing. Besides that, you should just wear what you normally would.
At the last Saturday of each month, every pedestrian is required to pick up trash when walking between eight AM and noon. However, it hardly seems necessary. I participated, and I was only able to spot two small pieces of trash over a two km distance.
On Sunday I walked five km to the Genocide memorial. The Google maps works perfectly and I only had to back track about one km. The tour of the memorial covered world wide genocides starting with Armenians Genocide prior to War World I through the 1990’s with the Bosnian Muslims and Tutsi Rwandans.
The exhibit was very sad, but I think it is important to be informed about the tragedies of the world, so that we can work to prevent them in the future.