Gabriel and I left Gasundwe on Friday morning last week, we took Davide's boat to Mugonero and got the bus along the new tarmac road to Kibuye.
That new road has already made such a difference to the travel times from the village. In the past this journey by road, on the back of a moto would have taken 2 and 1/2 hours, and even longer by bus, but now it takes about 50 minutes. This improved infrastructure opens up so many possibilities for the local population; trade with the towns and villages along the whole route from Kamembe to Kibuye, opportunities for developing tourist attractions, little gift shops etc. But you need to be an entrepreneur and have a little bit of capital. Here in
Rwanda there is a great drive for people to create their own jobs and I can see that there will be many small businesses here soon. There already are some but I expect in a couple of years time there will be many more. One of the most popular subjects for study in the schools and universities is Entrepreneurship. The young people are so keen to learn and they work very hard. They deserve success.
Arriving at Kibuye we were greeted by Gabriel's wife, Christine and then I left them to go down to the lakeshore to get the 'big boat' to Gisenyi. I have wanted to travel on this boat for some time so it was a treat for me. Alexis and his family live in Gisenyi and I looked forward to seeing them and staying with them for a few days. This big boat is a great asset to locals wanting to travel for work or family reasons. I have been told that it was given to the people by the president and they are very proud of it. They also love their president very much because he is making so many improvements to their lives and the lives of their children.
It was a beautiful journey and totally unmarred by the torrential rain. Elsewhere in this blog I have described a journey on the lake in one of the usual wooden boats - a totally different experience. This is a big metal boat with windows and comfortable seating, snacks available and a toilet.
I arrived in Gisenyi during the heavy rain, and in Rwanda unless you have a car, or are on a bus, nothing moves. So Alexis was stuck at home and couldn't come to meet me for a while. That doesn't bother me, it just gives me more chance to chat to the locals and have them laugh at my kinyarwanda. I spent most of the time talking to a young boy aged about 12. He was carrying a clean plastic bucket with a lid and inside there were lots of amandazi, which is a heavy type of doughnut beloved by Rwandans. He wanted me to buy one but I'm not keen so I declined. The business part over he asked lots of questions and I tried my best to answer.
Alexis arrived as the rain stopped and we got on a small matatu bus crammed with people and produce. Alexis has very long legs and is almost doubled up when he is sitting in one of these vehicles! That's a problem I don't have.
I was very warmly greeted by the family and treated like an honoured guest.
The church service on Sunday was something to experience. Wonderful!!
Their home is right on the border with DRC. The town on the other side of the border is known as Goma. You may have herd of it. If you have, it will be in connection with either volcanic activity, earthquakes or conflict. Well, I can tell you that for the vast majority of the time these things are irrelevant. The main aim of life is living, feeding and clothing your family and supporting your neighbours. People come and go across the border every day. They are friends and and neighbours to each other. At the church there were Rwandans and Congolese of all descriptions worshipping together. They have many problems but they also have great faith. In UK we have many things but we are short on faith. That's because we think we can control everything in our lives, and we can control many things, therefore we think we have no need of faith. What a loss!
A couple of days later I said farewell fo my friends and caught the bus to Musanze which is famous for volcanoes and gorillas. The volcanoes are truly a magnificent sight on a clear day. I stayed in Musanze for a couple more days and then returned to Kigali by coaster bus, a journey on tarmac of about 2and 1/2 hours.
Lovely shower and rest at Tom and Ritah's house now.
Lots of love