In Summary
  • It shouldn't have surprised me then, that my muscles composed a protest song against the hilly terrain, and that they would sing this song on repeat every evening when I retired to bed.
  • It was, after all, the land of a thousand hills.

Rwanda has been on my bucket list since 2011 when I read Hannah Jansen's Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You. In the book, the author helps Jeanne, her adopted daughter, come to terms with her nightmarish memories of the Rwandan genocide. 

I was particularly interested in visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial which commemorates the brutal 1994 Rwandan genocide. I also wanted to experience have my share of the cleanliness and greenness of Kigali that everybody spoke so fondly about. 

It shouldn't have surprised me then, that my muscles composed a protest song against the hilly terrain, and that they would sing this song on repeat every evening when I retired to bed. It was, after all, the land of a thousand hills.

DRAMATIC JOURNEY

The journey by bus from Kampala to Kigali was nothing short of dramatic. And in keeping with the hill metaphor, it was an uphill ordeal! I had heard of the twists and turns in one's stomach as one rode on the bus and wanted to feel the knots in my stomach on my own.

Two words for the bus experience: big mistake. The driver of the bus company whose name I can't reveal for the sake of my own safety, drove at approximately 170 kilometres per hour.

My travelling partner and I spent the night holding tightly to our seats lest we were thrown off it into the darkness, seeing as there were no working seat belts. In retrospect, I got the adventure I was looking for.

The entrance to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Photos inside the museum are not allowed. PHOTO| MARYANNE GICOBI

The entrance to the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Photos inside the museum are not allowed. PHOTO| MARYANNE GICOBI

The thorough checks at the border is something you need to budget for as well, as we spent a good two hours there.

Just in case you are wondering, they were mostly interested in whether or not we were bringing plastics into the country. Exposing the entrails of our suitcases and bags to total strangers, as there is no privacy, was probably the only low point in the ordeal.

We arrived at about 9am and true to the country's reputation, even the bus station was surrounded by hills. Mugithi music blared from one of the stalls nearby, making us feel right at home.

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