I ushered in 2018 determined to explore Rwanda extensively. One year down the line, I am amazed by the discovery of what is in store. The gems of the land of 1,000 Hills are inexhaustible. A lifetime of traversing the territory can only scratch the surface.
I have soaked up a lot of information whilst visiting remarkable attractions this year. Every trip has been a study tour and the entire campaign is proving to be an effective research methodology. There is no better way to expand my horizon.
My experiences in rural Rwanda enabled me to acquire new skills and gain invaluable insight into important aspects of our culture. Moreover, I also tried my hand at excursions imported from the other side of the Atlantic. Between milking cows and brewing banana wine, I got the knack of horse riding, zip lining, paddleboarding, kayaking and canoeing.
Wine is not the only thing I produced in 2018. Through a hands-on crop to cup coffee experience, I rolled up my sleeves and picked cherries. Then I was involved in the process of drying, roasting and grinding the beans. Finally, I brewed the freshest coffee I had ever sampled.
My planned participation in harvesting tea was derailed by persistent showers watering the manicured green hills of Nyabihu. Lack of patience is to blame for my futile fishing experiment off the shore of Rusizi. Hopefully, I will be a successful fisherman in 2019.
Museums have taught me a great deal of history. At the Kandt House, I found a fountain of information shedding light on a successful plot to infiltrate and cement German rule without provoking resistance. At the King’s Palace, I got the drift of the way the traditional power structure was manipulated to pave the way for the establishment of the Belgian colonial administration. A visit to Mulindi w’Itwari was an opportunity to revise the history of Rwanda’s liberation struggle, whereas a stop-over at the Kigali Genocide Memorial broadened my understanding of the historical context of the genocide.
In the Virunga Massif, I found a stunning crater lake on top of Mount Bisoke and witnessed the most theatrical sunset ever on the summit of Karisimbi Mountain. Farther down the slopes of the volcanoes, I discovered the Twin Lakes and pondered the mystery behind the formation of Musanze Caves. Elsewhere, I traced the source of Rusizi River and established the connection between its genesis and the emergence of the Virunga mountain range.
Observing animals left me speechless. Similarities between mountain gorillas and human beings are unbelievable. Our cousins from the animal kingdom are playful and affectionate. They are also caring, protective and emotional. They laugh, chuckle, cry and scream. Like us, they mourn and grieve when they lose their beloved ones. They belong to close-knit families characterized by a strong sense of belonging.
While poking my nose into birds’ affairs, I saw talented musicians, skilled construction workers and crafty interior designers. I was impressed by their work ethic, communication skills and teamwork. Wildlife will never stop amazing me.
At Nyungwe National Park, I felt the thrill of walking 70 meters above the ground. From that vantage point, I saw how thick vegetation winds through the landscape, nourishing the surface and falling over deep valleys. Deep down the forest, Isumo Falls looked like a painting from the distance. When I got closer, I was shaken by the velocity of the water falling off the edge and pounding the rock hard.
In the Kivu archipelago, the allure of those picturesque isles turned me into a regular visitor. Here, I found an ideal place to reclaim my lost peace of mind and a sanctuary in which dreams of paradise are aroused. At Akagera National Park, I was overwhelmed by the sight of savannah plains, lakes, swamps and the biggest collection of wild animals I had ever seen.
Back in Kigali, I fell in love with the city’s pedestrian-friendly roads. The new roadside walkways have something to do with the cancellation of my gym membership. In the public library, I found books that became friends, counselors and teachers. While in the library, I traveled the world without leaving my chair.
My 2018 experiences can’t possibly be highlighted in one post. The little I have managed to share can only scratch the surface. I am looking forward to a more adventurous 2019. Happy new year everybody.