Escape to Rwanda

Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
Trip End Apr 29, 2012

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Where I stayed
Chez Lando

Flag of Rwanda  , Kigali City,
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This has been two very long days, with one very short night in between. I spent the rest of yesterday working on various jobs. I finally checked out at 11:00 pm, and the shuttle arrived a little after 11:30, and had to make several trips. After standing in a long slow moving line, I was able to check in at about 12:30 (which would make it this morning). Then I waited another ninety minutes in the departure lounge.

We boarded the Kenya Airways flight at around 02:00 and took off half an hour later. I slept two hours on the three-hour flight, all the sleep I would get for that night. We deplaned in Nairobi in the predawn darkness around 5:30 am. In spite of the fatigue, the night smelled wild and fresh, something I always enjoy experiencing on the plains of East Africa.

I had a reasonable cup of café au lait in the one airport restaurant, and a small bottle of water and then sat and read for four hours or so. Short of stretching out on the dirty floor, which some passengers do, it's very difficult to sleep in the Nairobi Airport; the seating, with permanently fixed hard armrests are not amenable to it.

We boarded the Rwandair flight to Kigali at 09:00, and took off fairly quickly, the plane, a new 737-800 was quite empty.

After flying over Lake Victoria, we landed in Kigali to find a military honor guard with band on the tarmac waiting to welcome or send off someone important. The immigration man noticed right away that I had put pastor down as my occupation: "welcome!" he said expansively, “praise His name.” I thought, “yes, may our lives do so.”

I moved quickly through customs and took a taxi to Chez Lando, a hotel I’ve used on and off since around 1998 when it reopened after the genocide attempt in 1994. I quickly showered and changed and called Mr. Mundeli to let him know I had arrived. He said he would send a trusted taxi for me right away. I took the time to print some handouts for my presentation and make photocopies in a small shopping area across the main street.

By the time I got back to the hotel Samuel, who I knew from many former visits, was waiting with a different vehicle than last time. This one is fairly new and actually has the steering wheel on the left side, which is to say the right side for driving on the right side as they do here.

I arrived a the conference center at 12:30 just as our Church president, Jim Franks was finishing up the second of two morning seminars; the first was on the formation of our new association, and the second on the importance of teaching as we have been taught (and not creating our own new doctrines.) There were nine people attending, I made the tenth. The Mundelis were there, the Sibobugingos, the Rutamujyanyes, Patrick, James, Mr. Franks and myself.

We shared a lunch of leek soup, followed by chicken and rice with French fries, and a vegetable medley with a red sauce, and a soft drink each. Meat is a rare treat for many people here, so we took our time and allowed everyone to savor every bite.

We started the seminars again at 2:00. I spent about 90 minutes going over a section of the new manual of guidelines for church activity organization. There were many questions and it was a useful session. We took a brief break to set up equipment and chat a bit and then started once again. Jim Franks finished off the day with a PowerPoint presentation (I had finally arrived with the projector!) about the importance of good character in church leaders.

We wrapped up at 4:00 so that people going home would have time to travel. Mr. Franks, Mrs Mundeli, James and I took the taxi toward our hotel, stopping to let James off where he could find a bush taxi going his way, and dropping Mrs. Mundeli in the central “bus station” (there aren’t really many busses just bush taxis) from where she could head home.

Back at Chez Lando, Jim and I caught up on the news, and then had dinner in the outdoor barbecue pit which is famous in Kigali for its goat brochettes (I usually order beef brochettes, they’re less tough and now no more expensive than goat).

Mr. Franks will have more work to do today - the office work never stops not even in Africa, and I will have an early night!
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Tess Washington on

Wonderful! You made it to Kigali! It's good to see that you, Mr. Franks and the brethrens had a productive meeting.

jpvernaud on

Nous sommes heureux de savoir que tout va bien pour vous, nous vous souhaitons une bonne suite de votre voyage et un très bon Dernier Jour des Pains sans Levains demain soir et vendredi.

Linda Morgan on

Joel, it seems as if the Africa way has not changed much for you on this trip. Praying you get more rest. It is wonderful to be able to put the names and faces together as you and Doc Swartz share your travels with us. Thank you so much for the walk through your visits as you do God's work. Our prayers are with you and our brethren.

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