Sunday, December 10, 2006


A fleeting weekend visit to Rwanda with our friend Sylvia. Down to Kigali first to visit the Genocide museum - a harrowing but well done presentation of the grim reality of 1994. Then a scenic drive north west to lake Kivu for a couple of days of sightseeing. The countryside is spectacular - the land of a thousand hills. Steep hilly country with densely cultivated terraces and in the distance the mountains and volcanoes on the border with the Congo and Uganda. As we explored the countryside we immersed ourselves in books about the history and the multitude explanations for how neighbours turned on neighbours in a frenzy of killing.

The church in Kibuye was the site of the massacre of nearly 12000 Tutsis who had taken refuge from the Hutu mobs. First they chucked in grenades then they went in with machetes. It took 4 hours to kill everybody..... Only 1000 out of the 50,000 Tutsis in this district survived.

It's amazing now that there is stability and a sense of progress though its still a desperately poor country with many challenges . We will visit again. We want to find out more about the reconciliation process and what mechanisms are in place to prevent a relapse into violence.

Interestingly, we had good tarmac to the border of Rwanda then hit appalling potholed dirt in Uganda. The customs officer had gone for lunch so all the cross border travellers congregated impatiently until the customs officer rolled back completely pissed an hour later. In the queue a Ugandan woman working in Rwanda said Rwanda is making rapid progress. We asked why? She said because unlike in Uganda there is no corruption. Tarmac has been promised on the Ugandan side since 1986........

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