75 – A Lesson on Genocides

Tue 9th Feb, Belle Vie Logement, Kigali, Rwanda
I spent the first half of the day trying to decide where to go from here. After all, my initial plan was to just do Kenya and maybe Tanzania. Instead, i find myself traipsing through Uganda and now Rwanda as well. From here i could go back into Uganda then Kenya, or i could go south to Burundi. Another option was to detour to DRCongo. I was also contemplating whether to go gorilla tracking. I didn’t want to initially, but it is oh so tempting, since i am already here. In the end, common sense prevailed and I decided that i should respect my budget. I did a bucketload of research though. And found out that besides Uganda and Rwanda (500 USD for either), it was also possible to track the gorillas in DR Congo (400 USD). Additionally, there was also the new possibility of tracking Eastern Lowland gorillas in Kahuzi Biega NP, in DR Congo (400 USD).

For lunch, i headed towards Nile Grill. At 1600 FR (fish and chicken) or 2200 FR (for meat), the buffet spread was a steal. There was rice, spaghetti, cassava, matoke, some bean stuff, coleslaw, my fish fillet in sauce, chips and more to pack my plate. Apparently, Belle Vie restaurant where i was staying did the same lunch buffet as well, since it was packed to the rafters when i went back there after lunch to drop off my laptop.

After lunch i took a taxi motor down to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. Entry is free, though donations are welcomed. The tastefully done centre exhibits from the start the origins of the Hutu/Tutsi conflict, the massacre, the history, impact and effects on the people. It included graphic retellings as well as short films and interviews with victims of the genocide. You can really get emotional reading and listening to their accounts. The other exhibits in the centre had skeletal remains of victims from the mass graves, clothing, and tools used in the killings on display. It reminded me of Tuol Tseng prison in Pnomh Penh.

The excellent memorial centre had a second floor where more murals briefly explored other genocides in the 20th century, including those in Cambodia, Armenia, Bosnia, Poland and Namibia. Outside, the memorial garden provided excellent views of Kigali.

It was almost 6pm when i walked back to the city centre. I was still musing on whether to go up to Gisenyi, on the shores of Lake Kivu, when i happened to pass by Kampala Coach’s office. That  settled it then. They had rides to Bujumbura (5000 RF). I will fork out the 40 USD visa at the border and will make my way down to Burundi. The bus sets off from Nyabugogo terminal at 830am.

I did a spot of self-catering by getting myself a baguette and instant mushroom soup. The hotel tonight was again empty. I must have met the manager only once, when he collected the room fees. Tomorrow i head towards Bujumbura. Let’s hope i don’t have to create an entry: Bujumbura drowning. I am still trying to recover my wet things.

On a side note, Ecobank in Kigali has ATMs that accept VISA, contrary to what is said in LP.

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