Life thankfully slowed down a little after we arrived in Kigali... but don't worry, there are plenty more adventures ahead.
Emily and Shami drove us to our guest house. And holy cow, people, my sister drives like a BOSS. Think of driving in Haiti at 3 times the speed (or maybe LA?!) and imagine my sister, down-shifting, darting in and out of traffic, on and off roads, off the shoulder, back on the road, around buses and construction trucks... all while holding a pleasant conversation. Kathy and I compared notes later and decided after three "OH MY GOSH I think I'm going to DIE" moments, you pretty much just adjust.
So we got dinner and crashed that night. It felt so good to just lie in a prone position (though maybe not as good as that soft marble had been...).
The next day we were up and at 'em, headed to the local grocery chain Nakumatt (you will see this becoming a theme) to get Rwandan coffee and tea. The locals drink "milk tea" which is basically homemade chai tea with milk. Cadbury chocolate is also very commonly sold, which, us being American girls, was basically impossible to resist. We also went to a fabric seller at the market and I bought fabric. (Emily's friend is a tailor and she made bags for my girls and a skirt and dress for me.)
Emily took the kids back to the guest house and Shami took Kathy, Alezah and I to the national genocide memorial. It was very eye-opening and... tragic. Ninety days, 1 million people dead. So much senseless insane killing. All this behind-the-scenes information that never made our news... western countries taking sides and "playing chess" with this small country. It's hard to believe, when you are in Kigali, that it's literally been only 19 years since the genocide. In such a short time, the country has made huge strides forward. Their parliament has the highest percentage of females in the world. There is no more Tutsi or Hutu, there is simply Rwandese. The capital is clean and safe and you can sense the people are trying hard to move forward as a country, to put their awful, bloody past behind them. Of course there is and always will be fires to put out, but overall, it was highly impressive to see how far they, as an independent nation and people, have come.
We fell asleep that night to the sound of rain drumming on the roof, and I wrote, "There is not much sweeter than the sound of rain in Rwanda."
-- to be continued