Kigali, the capital, is a stone’s throw from the border and in no time at all I was in the city. Traffic was 100% better than in Bujumbura and I headed straight to my accommodation that night, as spot called One“Love”. It may sound odd, but research told me that it belongs to a Rastafarian and half of its profit went to an organisation that provides prosthetics and wheelchairs to victims of the 1994 civil war.
I took the next day off to visit the site where thousands were murdered and that evening a band from the Congo performed, because of which many locals came to dine at the resort’s restaurant. A truly pleasant place, clean and green with plant life.
The next day I rode the 40km to a church where more than 10 000 people were killed, in- and outside the church, during the war between the Hutus and Tutsis. Along the pews the clothes of the deceased lay, including children, a gruesome sight to see the blood and bullet holes through the clothes and the walls. People were simply mown down with AK 47 machine guns, hand grenades and machetes. Children were hoisted up by the legs and their heads dashed against the walls. Upon existing the church, you proceed to an underground cellar where the limbs of the dead are stored – the sculls and bodies riddled with bullets. Photography is not permitted. More churches saw this kind of massacre, but one was enough for me. Many of the killers still walk around free today and I wonder whether they have any sense guilt.
I ate lunch in Kigali, a pretty and orderly city that felt safe to explore. I was even joined by another diner who couldn’t bear to see me sitting there all on my own, truly friendly people.
I also visited the Hotel Rwanda, the site of the film about the killings in 1994, a film well worth watching. Back at the resort another band from the Congo performed for our entertainment that evening, I was truly made to feel at home by all. I would have gone to see the gorillas in Rwanda’s rain forests, but couldn’t afford to on my budget.