Sunday, 16 January 2011

Hi from Rwanda!

Hi everyone, I arrived safely in Kigali yesterday evening and got the best welcome at Kigali airport ever! Had a big hug, lots of handshakes and a bunch of flowers. You guys have a lot to live up to when I eventually return! I had to pause for thought when filling out my immigration card. It asked me for the number of nights I was staying and I worked out it was a grand total of 730, what a long and exciting time I have stretching before me. It feels such a relief to finally be here, its not nearly as scary as I imagined!
 After a long night’s sleep and a big breakfast we headed off into Kigali itself to change money and get a modem thing which is apparently the way you get internet in Rwanda. Kigali is a lovely town. The streets are clean and orderly and the roads good. Everyone who spoke to us was friendly and polite and we were not hassled at all. There were quite a few shops and we visited the shopping mall to change our money and look around. My initial impressions are that I’m very lucky to be here. All the current serving volunteers are very positive about Rwanda and it does seem like a very beautiful country – very green and gorgeous. It also feels very calm and safe, much calmer and less busy than India which I visited last summer.
We have a rest day today, but from tomorrow our in country training starts and I’ll have lots to think about.  The climate here is very pleasant, around early to mid twenties, but drops at night so you can sleep easily. I am wandering around in a t-shirt and remembering that only 2 days ago I was wearing 2 jumpers and a coat all at once and looked and felt like a sumo wrestler, especially with all the cake weight I’d put on. I don’t envy you poor souls freezing to death in the UK, you know where to come now for a winter sun holiday.
Well I’d better go as my internet modem thing is quite slow and expensive. I’ll be able to stay in touch easily for the next 10 days as I can use my wireless modem at the guesthouse I’m staying in. After that I may have to figure out where the most local place is where I can use it, but there are a couple of cafes in Kigali with wifi so I’m fairly confident that I can keep up with the updates.

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