three weeks in Kigali
I’ve been here in Kigali for 3 weeks and am beginning to feel more settled. I’m getting to know everyone at work, I’ve moved into an apartment, found a yoga class and started running!
My apartment is very conveniently situated 5 minutes walk to the office. It is in Kacyiru, a nice part of town close to many of the embassies. Nearby is the National Library, it has a roof top café with great wifi, fruit juices and lattes, needless to say I am a regular visitor. Getting sorted in the apartment has been a tad challenging…. learning how to top up electricity credit, get internet etc but I am almost there :).
Shopping for groceries and household items has been fascinating and helpful in getting to know my way around. It has been great doing this with my PULSE buddies Tamsin and Robin at the weekends who are also getting settled with accommodation. There are quite a few big supermarkets which in combination sell almost everything although you may have to go to several to get all that you need! Besides great local produce, they sell many familiar brands at very inflated prices. The markets in town also sell a huge range of household goods and food, mostly fresh fruit, vegetables, beans and lots more. I also have a few little shops close by which are great for picking up water and snacks.
Downtown Kigali is very busy, noisy and colourful. There is a big security presence, armed police and army are regularly around most areas and bags are searched going into each shopping centre, not unlike Belfast when I was growing up.
On 4th July there was a public holiday to commemorate the end of the genocide in 1994. During this time of year there were many genocide memorial services. Visiting the Genocide Memorial Centre in Kigali was informative and important for me to learn more of the history. The staff of Jhpiego in Kigali very generously each made a personal donation to a group of genocide survivors living in poor circumstances in a small village about an hour north of Kigali. The much needed food supplies in addition to a cash donation were gratefully received. This is a link to the coverage in the local news, it is in Kinyarwanda, but the pictures tell the story. http://www.kigalitoday.com/kwibuka/article/gikomero-abacitse-ku-icumu-batishoboye-bahawe-inkunga-y-arenga-miliyoni
I’m still enjoying walking in Kigali, the hills certainly do give you a workout, and this morning I went for my first run. Not having run in a few weeks, I took it slow, it was a lovely morning, the birds were singing and there wasn’t much traffic around. I was joined by a group children running along side me for a while, they were very funny, laughing and making fun of me! The yoga class is also a fantastic work out, it is held in really cool art gallery and for me guarantees a wonderful restful nights sleep!
Work is going well. I’m enjoying meeting everyone and getting settled in. I look forward to seeing the beautiful scenery as well as learning about the programme in Musanze this week.