Our last days in Rwanda

After Nyungwe, our circle on the west side of Rwanda had come to an end. Because we decided to skip the Akagera National park in the eastern part (we wanted a short break from game drives), all that remained was some planning and admin in Kigali. But not after we visited the highlight of Butare (Huye). 

Butare is not only home to the nuns of the Emmaus hostel. It is also the place where the Ethnographic museum is located. This is a museum that shows the geology, history and demography of Rwanda in a very educative way. It is not only a museum to inform tourists, but at least as much to inform Rwandans. It is meant to convey a clear message: keep the beauty of Rwanda as it is and remember (y)our heritage. It is very similar to the national museum we know in Kenya, but it was nice to see the same about Rwanda. 

We had an early lunch at a proper Chinese restaurant in town (really good food!). After this, we were off to Kigali again. We had arranged an AirBNB at a lovely place. The room we had is huge and the host lives in the same house, where we were free to go as we pleased and use all facilities they have. We spent our time doing laundry, admin and took some time to rest. Actually, being on the move all the time and dealing with the unpredictability that is Africa was hitting us. Almost 2 months on the road, the initial "holiday mood" is now being replaced with "this is our life now". Emma took the opportunity to meet two friends, who were in Kigali as well. One of them even came all the way from Burundi, to meet again after a little over 10 years. 

We also used the opportunity to have another 'last night with Niek'. We were not sick of him yet and apparently the feeling was mutual. He stayed in a place that had a bowling alley, so we decided to roll some balls. In the Netherlands, the bowling alleys are fully automated and we sometimes joke that there is a person at the end of the lane who picks up the pins and has to avoid the balls. Joke was on us, as here this was actually the case. It was great to see the arm picking up the pins (almost) every time we rolled a ball. 

The time in Kigali also meant we were almost on our way to exit Rwanda again. This gave us a strange feeling. Rwanda was not as we had expected. Rwanda, and especially Kigali felt very safe and it was clear that they are trying to be as western as possible. This allows people to move on the streets freely without feeling unsafe, Rwanda has great tarmac roads, most parts of the country are very clean, and the hills are beautiful and green (the last one is not man-made). All these things did make it feel like we had lost the 'real' Africa, which we know from Kenya and a little from Uganda (dust, red soil, busy streets with road stalls, no pavements, potholes etc). Strange of course, as Rwanda is in the heart of Africa. 

We thought about the way we still are planning to go and for a slight moment, we considered whether we should just head back to Nairobi. Not every day is a highlight. As we realized earlier, after some of the highlights, we often hit a low point. That is the way of life, and overlanding in Africa is definitely adventurous but also comes with a lot of uncertainty and sometimes insecurity. Especially for Emma who likes to plan ahead and can worry a lot, it is hard to let go, take things as they come and trust that we can fix problems when they arise. In Africa, that is just the way it is and it is what we have to deal with it. We gathered our bearings (figuratively and literally) and decided to just continue and see what will happen. The huge room was perfect for us, as we were able to unpack almost everything we had and repack as soon as our clothes were dry. 

We also used our time here to try to recharge Sparky, but that did not go as planned. Firstly, we were very stupid and naive. Usually, in the afternoons we had rain in Rwanda. We decided to put Sparky outside and head out. Of course, it started to rain. Not just some rain, but proper tropical rainstorms with thunder. As we walked home through the rain (the taxi did not show), we were greeted with a beautiful sight. The place where we left Sparky was empty! Our wonderful host had seen Sparky out in the rain and taken him inside. 

Two days later, we tried again. This time, we would stay home, so nothing could happen. Or so we thought. Unfortunately, one of the dogs living in the house has a thing for cables. He chewed through the charging cable and we could slam our heads into a wall for not thinking of this. Fortunately, our hosts came to the rescue again. With an African solution, the cable was taped together and worked again. Lessons learned (hopefully). 

Our next country on the list was Tanzania. We had found a motel very close to the border, so we could reach the border very early the next day. We left our amazing home-away-from-home (thank you Astrid!) and wonderful hosts in Kigali and headed east. They were absolutely wonderful and it meant the world that we had all the space and time to wash our clothes and prepare for the next part.

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