After over twenty-four hours of traveling, with stops in Ethiopia and Uganda, we finally arrived at the Kigali airport. Jet-lagged and completely sleep deprived, we were happy to see three of our friends from our partner organization, RVCP, waiting for us. Together, we went into the city of Kigali in order to catch a bus.
Kigali streets are full. Motorcycles, busses and cars zigzag their way through crowds of pedestrians and street vendors. Women carry their young children in blankets slung on their backs with a few strategic knots, and some also hold groceries in baskets that on their head and are balanced by one arm. Pedestrians, like cars, weave their way through the business, seeking out the few vendors who offer what they need, and ignoring the other vendors’ offers. We too weaved through the crowds, weighed down by our luggage, following RVCP members to find the bus to Butare.
After buying two extra bus seats in order to fit all of our luggage, we began our three hour journey to Butare, the southern Rwandan city where we will live for the next two months. The bus ride proved Rwanda’s proud nickname “land of one thousand hills”. We witnessed a country side of soft tumbling curves, and accented with banana trees, palm trees, and cacti the size of American SUVs.
The woman sitting next to me on the bus was just as welcoming as the surrounding landscape. She could see how utterly exhausted we were after darkness had consumed the thrilling views, and offered her shoulder so that I could fall asleep. It was an offer that I would accept, though accidentally, when I leaned over to her shoulder-pillow after I had fallen asleep upright.
We finally arrived at our Butare home at around eight at night. The home and yard is surrounded by a brick and mortar wall with broken glass on the top, serving the same purpose as barbed wire. There is a living room and a kitchen with only a sink. We have a small portable stove that uses coals for heat, which can be used outside. There are three bedrooms in our home, two of which have two beds and one with four.
Before going to sleep, we hung our bug nets over our beds. When lying in bed and talking to each other, the netting all over the room is so thick that we can’t even see each other.
We are getting used to our new home in Rwanda, and starting the explore the thousands of hills! Miss you all!