Escape to Rwanda
Trip Start Mar 26, 2012
32Trip End Apr 29, 2012
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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.
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.
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!