Saturday, July 20, 2013

Hotel Des Mille Collines and Lake Kivu

On a moto in Kigali (note the helmet)
Last weekend I went to Rwanda with a group of volunteers and we stayed in Kigali and Gisenyi. In Kigali, the capitol, we visited the genocide memorial/ museum and Hotel Des Mille Collines where the hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina, managed to hide and save the lives of over 1,000 Tutsi during the Rwandan genocide. The memorial was very depressing and surreal, especially standing in the final resting place of over 200,000 of the victims. It is hard to fathom how something so horrific can happen during my lifetime, and I’m still struggling to come to terms with the reality of it. It was especially hard to read how brutally people were murdered and how people turned on their own family and friends. The absolute most unbearable part though was the section for children, where parents posted pictures of young children and babies along with a short bio including how they were murdered. How a human being can murder an innocent child, no matter how disturbed or distorted your viewpoint or “cause,” is beyond me. 

On a happier note, we spent the next day in Gisenyi swimming and laying on the beach at Lake Kivu, which borders the Congo and is about the closest I’ll ever get to the country. Rwanda was surprisingly clean and much more developed then Uganda. For starters you are not allowed to bring any plastic bags into the country (they confiscated mine at the border). They also have trash cans on the streets and they appear to have done a fantastic job combating litter! Furthermore, the roads don’t have potholes, there are traffic lights, crosswalks, sidewalks, and you wear helmets on motos (motorcycle taxis)! It was almost like being in America! The people were very friendly and the country seemed to be quite in order. Also the locals I met spoke very highly of the president and say that he has done a good job at fighting corruption in the government. It is really amazing how developed they are, especially when seeing the contrast while crossing the border. I’m wondering if it has something to do with the fact that Rwanda was originally colonized by Germans versus the British that colonized Uganda.

No comments:

Post a Comment