Muraho! We have been in Rwanda 25 days today.
Our new home, as we expected, is beautiful. The garden is filled with wonderful plants and mature flowering shrubs that are familiar to me from previous posts in Africa and Latin America, although I have forgotten a lot of their names. Some time on the internet should help with that.
The beautiful shrubs are filled with a variety of birds. Unfortunately, some of them seem to live in the time zone we left behind. We have the birds that sing at 2 a.m., those that sing at 3 a.m., 4 a.m. and so forth. Ending with the ones who tap insistently on our bedroom window for several minutes every morning at 6.
Kigali has changed so much since we lived here 10 years ago. It’s much bigger, but it’s also more attractive. Many more roads are paved; the potholes are mostly gone. Amazingly, there are sidewalks almost everywhere. The many new office buildings and homes now also landscape the areas outside their walls along the streets, and it is rare to see a bit of trash.
Beyond the prettier facade, the general atmosphere seems far brighter and more optimistic than when we last arrived — time has naturally played its part (it’s 17 years since the genocide, not 7), but also the results of 10 years of good governmental management are tangible and impressive. The levels of crime and corruption are rated pretty low and basic health care is becoming more available to all.
The city is now implementing an ambitious urban master plan, which will be very interesting to observe over the next few years. And in December, a remarkable public library will open — possibly the largest in East Africa and the culmination of work initiated by Kigali’s Rotary Club about 11 years ago.
Hugely better now (the proof is that you’re reading this) is the commercial internet service, which was generally lousy 10 years ago — I would not have had the patience to upload blog pictures then. Now, our home service is not far behind that we had in Washington.
This was always a nice place to garden since the weather is so mild and the (two) dry seasons are relatively short. But before, there were no plant nurseries in Kigali (that I ever discovered anyway). Now I’m told there are a few really good ones, so I’m looking forward to the paperwork on our car purchase going through so I can go out shopping and exploring.
I’ll be sharing more photos soon.