What a whirlwind of a year! It has flown by but, at the same time, I feel like we’ve been in Kigali forever and have actually found a home here. As I write this, I’m sitting at my favorite place in Kigali: a little Spanish/Moroccan owned cafe/tapas restaurant, called Casa Keza.
It’s pretty hard to believe that we’ve been living in Rwanda for over 6 months now. It feels like just yesterday that we were saying our goodbyes, selling all our stuff, and buying one-way flights. It has been a rollercoaster of an adventure and I would be lying if I said there weren’t moments when I was ready to give up and fly home because moving to a new country that doesn’t speak your language is really really hard! But with a lot of patience, the endless support of family and friends, and a very cuddly kitten, Rwanda is feeling more and more like home everyday now.
I’ve been getting a lot of requests to write a blog post about my work and here it finally is!
We recently decided to take a much needed break from the stress of job hunting and building a life in Kigali to safari in Akagera National Park and explore Uganda. Akagera is an interesting park as many of the big animals, including the lions and rhino, aren’t originally from Rwanda (they were imported from South Africa) and there aren’t all that many animals to see. But we went with friends and one of our friend’s two adorable daughters who kept things fun when we weren’t seeing any animals with great questions like, “mommy, why are the monkeys [balls’] blue?” We also stayed in a beautiful and pretty bougie lodge at the top of a hill in the park, complete with tennis courts and swimming pool.
Last weekend, we traveled with the local frisbee team to a tournament in Entebbe, Uganda! We got to play against teams from Kenya and Uganda and cheer on a showcase game between top players from both countries. The weekend started at the Kigali bus station in Nyabugogo (pronounced “nobbue-go-go”) where we met up with the team Thursday night to catch our overnight bus to Kampala, Uganda. The 8-hour trip costs only $15, but it’s hot, you won’t get any rest as the roads are extremely bumpy and, about halfway through the trip, you have to get off the bus to cross the border. Crossing between Rwanda and Uganda on bus is an adventure of its own and involves walking around 1,000 feet down a dark dirt road from Rwandan immigration, where you received an exit stamp, to the Ugandan immigration, where they issue an entry visa, because, for whatever reason, you aren’t allowed to cross the border on the bus.
I can’t believe it’s been a whole week already! It’s been a dusty, uphill journey (pretty much all roads around here are), but we made some big moves and are excited to move into our very own apartment later this week. Living with Leslie’s host family has been an amazing privilege and we are so thankful for all of the help and support they’ve provided, but with our own place I’ll be able to take my first step toward actually being able to call Rwanda, “home”. The apartment is located in a new building in the Kicukiru neighborhood (fairly close to where we are both working) and is fully furnished! And, most importantly, it has 2 bedrooms so we have plenty of space for you all to visit. 🙂