It’s a beautiful sunny morning here in Musanze. The sky is clear and the view of the towering volcanoes is spectacular. I am having breakfast at Migano Hotel. I am the only customer in the building who doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. The rest are grabbing something to eat and leaving immediately. On the parking lot, cars come and go. It seems like this is a stopover for busy, business travelers — not idlers like me.
My favorite scent, the aroma of coffee, is in the air. I am also getting a whiff of freshly baked bread and pastries. Moreover, my nostrils are sniffing a fusion of perfumes and sanitizers worn by the multi-culturally diverse clientele.
At the entrance, a female security guard is checking the temperature of every arriving customer. She is also filing the register with customers’ details, as instructed by the authorities tasked to oversee the implementation of the Covid- 19 protocols . The humble security guard, who wears many hats, is also showing them where the sanitizer dispenser is and reminding them to observe social distance guidelines. Her welcome gestures are natural. The ever-smiling woman in uniform is multi-tasking and communicating in an assortment of languages.
Musanze is a junction connecting Rwanda, Uganda and the DRC. Although Covid has slowed down trans-boundary trade, Musanze remains an active multi-lingual, regional business hub.
The paintings on the wall attract my attention. I can’t stop admiring artworks of beautiful women wearing colorful accessories. I picked up interest in art while visiting Imigongo Art Center, in Kayonza District. However, I am still struggling to interpret artistic impressions.
A business card is pinned below every painting on the wall I am looking at. My nosy-self is quick to find out that the said business cards are there to enable us to reach out to the man behind the artworks. He goes by the name Ndangiza Fahad.
After connecting with the artist on WhatsApp, he informs me that his creative work empowers women. Through art, he puts their boldness and beauty on full display. He instills confidence into them and encourages them to aim higher. In addition, he promotes their businesses by buying their kitenge fabrics. On top of all that, 20% of the proceeds go back to women in his community.
Each piece displayed at Migano Hotel costs USD 450. You can help God to bless the work of this artist’s hands by purchasing his paintings. Our interaction on WhatsApp leads to an invitation to his Boutique hotel known as Ndaza Escape. It is located in Kinigi Sector, near the Volcanoes National Park. I will disclose more about Ndaza Escape and the love of women after honoring this invitation.
If you have been following this blog, you are probably wondering what am I doing in Musanze? I know I am supposed to be in Rulindo but, once in a while, I will be returning to the districts I have already covered in the ongoing campaign. You can’t stop going back to the destinations that created memorable experiences and valuable connections.
The author is visiting all 30 districts of Rwanda. His tour of Musanze is sponsored by The Peakspot Lodge, Kingfisher Journeys, My Hill Ecolodge, Crema Cafe, Volcano Residence, Migano Hotel, Ikaze Rwanda Tours & Travel and Beyond the Gorillas Experience (BGE).