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Kamonyi Expedition

Kamonyi Expedition

I left Kigali at around 9 a.m. My destination was Kamonyi District in the Southern Province. Upon arrival, I had a brief meeting at a hotel named after a popular historical site known as Ijuru rya Kamonyi. After the meeting, I headed to Rukoma - far away from the highway.

I love off-road trails. They give me access to the remotest parts of the country. In addition, these off-the-beaten paths guarantee exhilarating biking experiences. There is an extensive network of roads connecting all 416 sectors of Rwanda across all 30 districts.

It was a beautiful sunny day. After deviating from the tarmac, I headed to Gacurabwenge market. From the market, I spun my spokes towards the headquarters of Rukoma Sector.

After a brief stopover at Ikiryamo k’Inzovu, I proceeded to Ibiti Bitanu. These are sites of historical significance. While in the area, I sat down with Patrice Mukiga, a 94-year-old "walking library."

Mzee Mukiga has been around since the 1920s. He was born during the reign of King Yuhi V Musinga. He saw the rise and fall of King Mutara III Rudahigwa. He witnessed the introduction of Christianity, followed by a new wave of baptisms and wide-spread Catholicism.

In addition, Mukiga felt the manipulation of the local power structures and the institution of forces responsible for the establishment of colonialism. He was shaken to the core by the forbidden fruits of hate and divisionism. Ultimately, he learned that truth, reconcilliation and unity have the power to restore much more than order.

Long story short, Mukiga has seen it all. At his age, he is obviously frail. However, he is articulate. His memory is still sharp. We had a good conversation under the shades of ibiti bitanu (five trees). As mentioned above, Ibiti Bitanu is a heritage site. More about this site will be shared in one of my upcoming posts.

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