Friday, November 20, 2009

The Land of a Thousand Hills


What a beautiful, breath-taking country with such a tragic and painful history. I got the privilege this past to go to "the land of a thousand hills," a phrase most appropriately named to describe Rwanda. Upon arrival the first thing noticed was....paved roads and no trash. One of the most remarkable things about Rwanda to me is just the transformation that the country has undergone in the past fifteen years. I am still in the process of analyzing the progress that Paul Kagame has made since he came to power nine years ago, but there is no doubt that he is making progress, at least in the area of cleaning-up his country's infrastructure.

Examples of what strides Rwanda has made can clearly be seen in the capital Kigali:

Paved, clean roads with painted lines...

Organized bodas (called in Rwanda motor-taxis) with vests, helmets along with the telephone number of the company they work for.

New modern construction was broadcasted throughout the entire capital.

Photos of one of the hotels we stayed at outside our room

Up to the dining area, which has an awesome view....

Kigali Genocide Memorial...

The memorial was erected in 2004, ten years after the 1994 genocide where an estimated 800,000 Rwandans were killed in a period of three months. Media and politically brainwashed Hutus spent these months slaughtering Tutsi and Tutsi-friendly Hutus as they declared to eliminate the entire Tutsi race. Friends turned on friends, neighbors turned on neighbors as this rampage took place.

It was a tragic time in not only Rwandan history, but the world's history as the UN and many Western countries "turned their backs" on what was happening in this small country in the heart of Africa.

This non-profit memorial serves as a reminder of not only the history that went on in Rwanda, but a reminder to prevent it from never happening again.


What a gorgeous and spectacular place. We went to this lakeside resort to one, see the beauty that is Lake Kivu with the DRC's mountain ranges soaring over it, and two, to hike in the Volcanoes National Park. Number two didn't end up working out mainly on a lack of planning on our part. This trip was kind of a "lets see what happens" trip and thus we didn't realize we needed to make a guide reservation the day before. But we were still able to see the beauty of the city and surrounding areas.

Photo opt!

Chris & Fiona, the lovely couple who feed us and gave us a place to stay while we helped out with the ministry.

Part of our trip to Rwanda consisted of working with a former EMI ministry called AIM FATER, which is a ministry creating an institution for training pastors. They are based in Kigali and wanted some new master plan ideas and some possible future land surveyed. We were able to give them some sketches and GPS points for the new land.

It was definitely great to be able to help them out, if only a little bit.

Our first group picture, which I still think is hilarious even though it's blurry. The epitome of our bus rides throughout Rwanda.

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