THE EAST AFRICAN SERIES, DAY 11, 12 & 13
The Rwandan genocide & a toothache. Being constantly on the road and with only limited WiFi and chill time I don’t get the time I need to sort everything from work to my blog.
YOU ARE CRAZY TO GO ON THAT ROAD
So the next two days were spent getting caught up so I could go back to focusing on my trip. It can be hard to enjoy on some occasions when you have work to think about.
WHERE IS KIGALI?
This hotel is a killer, the staff and facilities are incredible so it makes it a pleasure to sit by the bar & pool while doing some work. A number of regulars from Kigali often come here and I met a few from the DRC. Good knows what they do but I got talking to them about the trip and they couldn’t believe I made the trip from Gatumba border to Bukavu, it’s known to be one of the most dangerous areas in all of the DRC.
DAILY INFO… DAY 11, 12 & 13
- HOTEL – The Retreat
- FOOD –
- ATTRACTIONS – Genocide museum (day 13)
- STEPS – 14,600
THE RED CARPET (Day 12)
Today the rents arrived after a long 24hours travel time and it was good to see them. I couldn’t help but laugh at mum when she complained about RwandAir’s business class. She has no idea of the things I have seen over the past few days that would shock her much more than a shity old business class seat that didn’t have duck feathers to ease her into a deeper sleep. Anyway, they had a bite to eat and went straight to bed for a 30min nap.
It was absolutely no surprise that 3 hours later I had to go and get them up. Then they had breakfast and went for another nap on the sunbeds 🤣 It’s great to see them!
CITY TOUR (Day 13)
We were picked up by William, our driver & guide for our time here in Rwanda and Uganda. It isn’t half hard to tell where he comes from as he is covered in Ugandan flags from head to toe.
The main attraction today is the Genocide Museum and something I have been super keen to visit. Gorillas aside it is easily the country’s most popular tourist attraction. You cannot visit Rwanda and not visit the Genocide Museum, it is just not possible!
- The light blue band represents happiness and peace.
- The yellow band symbolizes economic development.
- The green band symbolizes the hope of prosperity.
- The yellow sun represents enlightenment.
THE GENOCIDE MUSEUM
At the beginning you are shown a short movie, about 10mins and then its to the museum. The employees actually encourage you to start in the museum rather than outside even though the numbers for the audio guide take you around the grounds first. Another note – pay the $20 for the audio guide, it’s worth it.
The museum is split into 3 sections; the Rwandan Genocide, other Genocides from around the world and an area dedicated to the children who died and some survivors.
The Rwandan genocide & a toothache
GENOCIDES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
We can easily forget the number of genocides that have happened and especially those which have been denied. Going through this area and seeing the number of countries who have been involved and the lack of help and attention they received was horrendous. Many of these happened just recently!
The Rwandan genocide & a toothache
THE CHILDREN OF GENOCIDE
This was by far the most difficult part of the museum. There have been many photos donated by families of those who lost a child. Under each large photo are several points given by the child’s family; name, age, favourite food, best friend, last seen and how they died.
When you read the names and see the little boy’s best friend was his mum or sister and then learn he was killed after being thrown against a wall it’s hard not to have the air sucked from your lungs. I couldn’t read more than 2 otherwise I would be walking around with a puddle of tears at my feet. It was honestly one of the hardest things I have ever tried to read.
Heading outside you walk through several remembrance gardens and then to the mass graves. Most of the people buried here are unknown as a lot of the human remains were just bones.
I have visited a number of memorials and museums to do with mass genocide but none of them really made me feel emotional like this one. The Holocaust Museum in DC was incredible but the children section here was just so chilling!
We then moved onto one of the city’s largest markets to give mum and dad their first taste of an African market and what a start it got off to. After jumping out of the car we seen a mouse sitting patiently ready to greet mum. If course I told mum not to look but she immediately knows what’s up.
The market had everything from paint and curtains to football shirts and Irish potatoes, great to show the rents how locals buy their fresh produce.
Going to the dentist can be hard enough at times but going to one you have never heard of on the other side of the world is another level again. Dad had been complaining about a pain around his tooth for a few days now and seeing as Kigali was going to be our best option for the entire trip we decided not to risk the hope that it would ease up and instead take a visit.
The entire time it was a complete sketch, if it wasn’t my dad getting the work done I would have spent most of my time laughing but I tried to keep a straight face and listen to what was going on.
A one point there was 2 dentists, a dental nurse and the practice owner looking into my dad’s mouth. Both of the dentists seemed very nervous and eventually we found out the male dentist is one of the top dentists in the major hospital but just doesn’t have the charisma to fill you with confidence.
- MVP – The staff at this hotel are great
- HIGHLIGHT – The genocide museum was hard hitting
- LOWLIGHT – Dads toothache but another memory to have
After getting an X-ray and noticing an abscess and another issue on a separate tooth, the guy eventually moved onto another client and the girl worked on. All he wanted was a quick fix that would do him for the next 2/3 weeks but the women was keen to do more.
“I can fix this.”
However my dad wasn’t buying it and although it sounded strange he told her not to fully fix his issue.
“I can sort this at home,” he says.
Eventually Dad gave in and allowed her to do what ever it was she wanted. First she went to work on draining the abscess with the help of a foot long syringe. I could see dad squirming in the chair but don’t blame him, I’m not a fan of visiting the dentist myself. Then she went to work on the other issue and gave his tooth a quick drill. Well this took my dad completely by surprise and he nearly jumped out of the chair but it was all good, the work was done and he was glad to hear it.
While all this was happening I was busy watching the guy in the next chair constantly spit out blood and the owner burning a hole in my ear, he was a real character.
What a great few days in Kigali, a perfect balance of chill time and checking out the sites of the city. The genocide museum – main reason why we visited – will not be easily forgotten.
Trekking with gorillas in Uganda!! Click to read.
SAFE TRAVELS, DS x
- Have you been to Kigali?
- Do you know anything about the Genocide?
- Did you know an average of 6 people were killed every minute for 100 days?
Let me know in the comments below . . .