12 November 2009

Rwanda (the log)

I intended on a great piece of visual literature that would transform my prose into some sort of grand picture that manifested itself as the reader continued.  Unfortunately, my grand ideas remained as such and I will just transcribe my notes as I went along the trip.  Not quite as lyrical at all, but maybe more honest to what I noticed/thought as we went along in Rwanda.


  • K’LA to KIG
  • Leave 9 AM
  • Uganda = bananas
  • Boarder 4:30 PM
  • No dark plastic bags allowed into Rwanda – Border inspector “won’t like it”  *note* Rwandans fear black plastic bags
  • Inspector confused by neck pillow, had to demonstrate to prove its reason for being in my bad and show that it is not a black bag
  • Nearly no whites entering Rwanda (there were a lot going into Uganda from Kenya)
  • Valley of Tea
  • Double Dubbed Jackie Chan Film (English then dubbed again in Swahili)
  • Valley turns like once great bobsled course cut by a grand glacier
  • Mist hangs in valley like schoolgirl’s mobile presentation
  • Kid A (album) written with Rwandan bus ride in mind


  • Day bus only out of Rwanda due to daytime border hours
  • BHS basketball hoodie in red with Johnson on back – Bernardsville?
  • Great bank search (no ATM’s work)
  • Access bank gives cash advance so I can stay another night and actually leave
  • Bonjour – exit hotel and man greets me as such – gave lost look and believed that I was French for a moment
  • Motorcycle taxis with men in green uniforms, matching helmets, and helmets for the passenger!  A first in East Africa!  Safety!
  • Kigali Memorial Centre
    • Fire lit 100 days each year to coincide with genocide
    • Fire=death
    • Water=life
    • Elephants=Memory
    • Mass Graves
      • over 300,000 people
      • giant slabs of stones like Egyptian king’s tomb
    • 1932
      • Tutsi = 10+ cows
      • Hutu= 9 or less cows
    • Catholic church spread ideas of group superiority
    • Delineation based upon socio-economic status not clan/tribe
    • By 1957 almost all Tutsi leadership
    • Gov’t jobs and Edu spots determined by percentage of groups (T-H 14-86)
    • Decent to Genocide
      • world choose not to go up path
    • 70 yr old woman hides 15 by playing up town belief that she housed evil spirits
    • 500,000 women raped – most by men HIV+
    • Children and women targeted to end line of Tutsis
    • Children’s section most upsetting part
      • Forced self to read information blow wall size portraits of murdered children

With history of genocides (ie. Germany, Rwanda, Namibia, Serbia, Turkey, etc.) how do we ignore Darfur?