02 May Rwanda? More like Rwaiting..
Kigali – Kampala
Muneeb and I touched down at Kigali International Airport on Monday night, ready to hit the ground running. Instead, it felt like all we did during our first two days in Rwanda was wait in lines. We waited over an hour upon arrival to withdraw cash, better known as Mission Impossible.
We waited at the St Paul’s Guesthouse for service – Tuesday was Labor Day and everything, including reception at a hotel… was closed. “C’est congee madame!” Needing to book ourselves another night, we had no choice but to wait for someone to come around. We finally enlisted the help of the friendly security guard, who went to call his sister. Or the sister, as in the nun? When she finally showed up about twenty minutes later, she was chatting on the phone as she slowly strolled to the office door, fumbled with her key for a while before letting us in. She started filling out the form, and without ever missing a beat in her phone conversation, booked us in for another night.
Our first meeting with our Rwandan partner was a massive success, and we can safely promise all our participants an extraordinary week in Kigali, with some surprises that will blow your socks off. And shoes.
Afterwards, we enjoyed some standard Rwandan fare for lunch – mystery meat stew, potatoes, and manioc. We took the overnight bus to Kampala, leaving the city at sundown in a flurry of backpacks and tickets and street vendors, crossing the border into Uganda just about two hours later. We arrived in Kampala earlier than expected – at 3am. AKA possibly the most inconvenient time of the day. Too late to say “who cares, lets party!”, and too early to start the day. With no 24hr hotels, we hung out in the courtyard of the bus terminal until the sun rose, and hired a taxi to take us to Red Chilli, Kampala’s favourite hostel. Shower, sleep, food.