Rwanda As I hear Of It

This is the first post in this blog. I used to blog over at the Diary of a Kenyan Campus Girl but then I finished campus on 17th Dec, 2010. Technically, it was on 16th but I left on the 17th, never more a campus girl.

Lucky me, I don’t have to tarmac in January looking for a job, I already have one. In Rwanda. How I got it? Story for another day. Meanwhile, here is what everyone has been telling me about it:

Map of Rwanda

Map of Rwanda

Whenever I mention I’m going to be working in Rwanda in Jan, I always receive some sort of information or advice from people who’ve never been there. They don’t even know it’s now part of East Africa, and I don’t need a work permit to work there, or a visa to visit. Anyway, here is what I hear, from those who’ve been there as well:

it’s very beautiful, green etc. I have to see this for myself. I hear Kigali is really clean too.

The people are friendly. I think Kenyans are the most ‘hostile’ of the 5 EA countries.

The cost of living is very high. A classmate who did his ‘internship’ in Rwanda told me something that costs 10bob here costs 20bob there because of transportation costs. Rwanda is landlocked, FYI, and they import their stuff through Kenya and Tanzania and I don’t know where else. So he told me to buy everything I needed before I travel. Everything? Well, seems like I may have to travel with some shopping from here.

They speak French mostly. Though Rwanda is changing its official language from French to English, most of Rwandans don’t know English yet. And their Kiswahili is a bit strange, hard to understand. Since I don’t know French (well, I know bonjour and Je t’aime but not enough to ask for directions), it seems am doomed. My classmate told me he used to speak Kikuyu. Apparently, since Kinyarwanda is bantu and Kikuyu is bantu, you have a better chance of being understood that way. It’s hard to bargain for stuff or pay in a public bus or order for food but I will survive. (Cue for Gloria somebody’s I’ll survive song)

Theirs is a French culture. So they only eat once a day (so I heard). Breakfast could be coffee or a glass or milk, but lunch, which is the main meal, is an all-you-can-eat buffet. Then supper is something light. I could live with that.

Kenyans hang out at Carwash. Just hop onto a motorcycle, and ask to be dropped off at Carwash and you’ll find company with whom you have much in common.

Nakumatta Kigali is alcohol-friendly. You can buy liquor and drink it right there, a cool area has been set aside for you to sit and drink away.