Friday, May 27, 2011

The Bakiga Window: Kigali Skyline

Kigali, stretching itself lazily into the hilly distance.
I don't want to get into the habit of playing a year game of spot the difference whenever I come to Kigali, but I can't help but find myself doing so anyway. Along with the ever-increasing amount of traffic, another thing that strikes you is the cleaning up of the housing around the centre of the city, coupled with the ever heightening skyline.

It is Sunday 10th April and I am musing on the Kigali's development from the grounds of the Genocide Memorial Centre, looking towards Avenue de la Gendarmerie, and the town beyond. Just out of the view of my camera, obscured behind some trees, is a symbol of Rwanda's leap forward, the Kigali City Tower - a spire of glass, iron and concrete in homage to economic development.

Standing atop one of the many collines and looking over Kigali's commercial hub, it seems to mock those who live in the poorest of houses that lay hidden in the crevices of the valleys. It is my hope that, in time, those who live in the poorer houses, with their stereotypically rusty corrugated iron roofs and their patched up mud walls, will begin to see some of Rwanda's wealth disseminated down the hillside towards them. Paul Kagame, Rwanda's president, has done a good job of stabilising the country and I guess this should be his next mission.

So to my journey, and this morning we depart for Kabale in Uganda. I always feel that I never quite do Rwanda any justice when I visit. I still have so much to discover here around the city of Kigali. I even feel that I haven't communicated enough with everyday Rwandan people. This is something I will need to rectify next April as it leaves a void in my understanding of this region that shouldn't exist.

After a brief packing session at Youth for Christ - I had tried not to unpack everything - loading the minibus with luggage and the coaster bus with students and staff, we set off for the border and to the adventures that lay ahead. It's not the longest of journeys, but I procured the 'extra legroom' seat at the front of the coaster anyway.

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