New adventure! - The next two years in Cameroon, of which at least the first two in the capital Yaoundé.
Collecting firewood - Helping his parents during the school holiday
Rwandan lizard - The colours of the Rwandan flag!
Golden monkeys, part 2 - You can find part 1 here.
A car with a Muzungu - If you stop anywhere along the road, it won’t take longer than 30 seconds before you will be noticed by the local kids and they come running. And of course, when there’s a Muzungu (white person) in the car, they need to have a look inside.
Path or stream? - That depends entirely on the weather!
Countryside in Bugusera - Less than 15 kms from Kigali
Paper bags - In Rwanda, plastic bags have been banned for more than 10 years now. Since more than a million plastic bags were found in public areas in Kigali during a collective cleaning session in 2006, sale or handing out of plastic bags is prohibited. As a consequence, I would have expected a large supply of sturdy … Continue reading Paper bags
Children or beggars? Or both? - In Europe, we teach our children not to accept sweets or anything else from strangers. Not healthy, not hygienic, not safe. Why does that change when people visit a developing country? There, the poor and pitiful children with their beautiful brown eyes must be craving for our sweets, pens or old toys. In general, the … Continue reading Children or beggars? Or both?
Education - Education is very important in Rwanda. More than half of the population consists of youth below 25, so population growth is high and good education is necessary for economic growth, job creation and to feed people. Over the last years, both the Rwandan government and international organisations have worked very hard to make education available … Continue reading Education
What do we tell our children? - My son is 22 years old. Quite often he asks me where his father has gone to. How do I tell him his father is the neighbour who killed my husband and raped me? What would it mean to him that I hate his father? My daughter is 4 years old and starts to ask … Continue reading What do we tell our children?
Murambi Hill - Murambi Hill seems an idyllic place. The top of a large hill, only accessible through a badly signposted dirt track. At all sides gentle, green slopes into the valley, and from there sloping up again to the next green hill. A beautiful view, some scattered houses, agriculture, some cows, not much happening. On the top … Continue reading Murambi Hill
Snail, Nyungwe - The beauty of something we usually hardly notice.
L’Hoest monkeys (part 2), Nyungwe - They’re too cute not to show them again.
Land of a thousand hills - The proud description Rwandans themselves give of their country is “The land of a thousand hills”. I guess it comes closer to one hundred thousand hills, and some of them definitely deserve to be called “mountains”. But it does make for a beautiful landscape.
How do they do that? - Carrying bags on their heads without using their hands…
Christmas hat - Why would you put away your Christmas hat after Christmas? It can be perfectly repurposed to protect your head from the burning sun!
Royal cow - Cows are almost sacred in Rwanda, especially the ones with the long horns. They are a symbol of prosperity and high social status, so the king had more cows than anyone else. Behind the royal palace, they still have a few left.
Weavers at Akagera - The colourful male weavers build (weave) intricate nests to seduce the females to lay their eggs in them.
Monitor lizard - This cutie, the Nile Monitor, can grow 2 metres long, although most don’t get to one metre. It’s the primary predator for crocodiles, as they like to eat all their eggs.
Monkeys at Akagera - Vervet monkeys Baboons
Hippos at Akagera - The second largest lake of Rwanda, Lake Inema, is located in Akagera. Besides lots of waterbirds and crocodiles, it is home to many hippos. But… hippos eat grass on the savannas and are clearly not afraid of giraffes, or the other way around.
Antelopes at Akagera - There are 13 types of antelopes in Akagera. We didn’t see all of them, but here an impression of some. Impala Topi Waterbuck Dik-dik
Sunrise over the swimming pool, Akagera Game Lodge - Nice ambience at such an early time.
Akagera National Park - Akagera National Park was founded in 1934, by the Belgian colonists, as one of the oldest national parks in Africa. Nevertheless, in 1997 the size of the park was cut in half to accommodate the many returning refugees from surrounding countries and poaching was still common. Only in 2010, the park started to improve facilities … Continue reading Akagera National Park
Best wishes - I wish you the Christmas you hope for, in peace and security, with love and understanding, joined by whoever you wish. I wish you a happy 2017, guided by something or someone, to follow your own route, and become who you truly are.
Healthcare in Rwanda - Almost all Rwandans have an insurance for primary healthcare. When they can not afford the costs, the government can step in and when they want something more than just the basic care private insurance often is possible as well. That does not mean that healthcare here is at a high level. As soon as it … Continue reading Healthcare in Rwanda
Authority - As a country, Rwanda is older than the Netherlands. The Kingdom of Rwanda has been founded somewhere between 1000 and 1400, at a time when the Netherlands was still part of the Spanish kingdom. When exactly Rwanda became a country is not clear, as until colonial times there was no written but only oral history. … Continue reading Authority
Children - “How many children do you have?” “I don’t have children.” “Oh, I’m sorry.” The above is a more or less standard part of the conversation when I’m meeting someone new in Rwanda. After the usual inquiries into your name and where you come from, the next question will be how many children you have (that … Continue reading Children
100 days - One hundred days. One hundred days the genocide in Rwanda continued. One hundred days to kill between 800.000 and 1.000.000 people. 8.000 to 10.000 people died a day. Not by chemical weapons, large scale bombing or destruction camps, but with simple machetes, clubs or sharp pointed sticks and an occasional grenade. Not in a huge … Continue reading 100 days
Lunch - The service in Rwandese restaurants is notoriously slow. Waiting an hour to get your food served is no exception. When the restaurant is full of customers, I can imagine it takes time, but somehow that doesn’t seem to be the reason. The same thing happens when you are the only customer in the whole restaurant. … Continue reading Lunch
Blossom and fruit - Blossom and fruit at the same time in one tree?
Plant disease - Bad for the plant (the leaves will be eaten) but still beautiful!
Presidential palace museum - April 6th, 1994, the then Rwandese president Habyarimana, after a meeting with heads of state in Dar es Salaam, flew back home with his Burundian counterpart. Close to his destination, the military airport in Kigali, the airplane was shot. It crashed in his own back garden, none of the passengers survived. The next morning, the … Continue reading Presidential palace museum
Nests - These birds fourage in shallow water in the valleys, but they nestle in trees in downtown Kigali, in the midst of a busy street: Yellow-billed storks.
Green mosque - The green mosque is the heart of Nyamirambo district in Kigali.
Traffic insight - For five weeks they had been stopping the traffic. No one was allowed to pass (well, some were, sometimes) so there were traffic signs, roadblocks ánd police officers. Until Tuesday morning. Then, to the amazement of many drivers, the police were waving, whistling and directing all those cars and motos to go there where they … Continue reading Traffic insight
Saint Peters Church, Karongi - St Peter’s Church in Karongi (formerly Kibuye), is a beautiful church at a stunning location, but one with a macabre story to tell. Most of the church and all of the decorations are new, and that is for a reason. The church was the scene of one of the worst massacres during the 1994 genocide, … Continue reading Saint Peters Church, Karongi
The weather - What is it about the weather that everyone always complains about it and wants to change it? Ok, in the Netherlands or the UK I get it. Days of gray and overcast skies with a continuous drizzle falling… I can imagine that doesn’t bring you in a sunny mood. Scandinavian or Canadian temperatures of 30 … Continue reading The weather
Is this Africa? Part 5 - When someone mentions “Africa” we automatically create pictures in our mind. Savannahs with wild animals, dry deserts, hungry children, make-shift shacks, ongoing war… Romantic or desperate, the word has a lot of connotations. Of course most people know that Africa is a large continent with a lot of diversity, know that every country (54 recognised … Continue reading Is this Africa? Part 5
Genocide survivor - My name is Innocente, I’m 26 years old and I’m a survivor of the genocide.* In 1994, when the genocide in Rwanda started, I was 4 years old, a small, happy child. I lived with my father, my mother, one older sister, two older and one younger brothers, a normal family of seven. My father … Continue reading Genocide survivor
Our luxury hotel at Lake Kivu - Luxury hotel on the shores of Lake Kivu.
Birds in Rwanda - Cormorant
Transport - Need a car for transport? Not really.
Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo - No, we haven’t actually been there, just had the view. Going there was not possible, considering my passport was with the Rwandan immigration office.
Sambaza - Sambaza are the small fishes in Lake Kivu that give may people an income.
This is Africa! Part 4 - Besides the images that raise the question “Is this Africa?”, of course there are the images that scream “This is Africa!” as well. Again, this is more telling about my perceptions than about the reality of Africa, so let me know what you think about it! This time: Kamembe/Rusizi, a small town in the south-west … Continue reading This is Africa! Part 4