20.01.2012 - 21.01.2012 30 °C
Today we woke up this morning at 6am to eat breakfast at the hotel. The plan was to eat early and then catch the matatu to the bus station, nyabagogo, so we could catch another bus to Butare (130km) south of Kigali. We were up early and ate breakfast but Louie wasn't feeling well so he stayed behind and rested all day while mom and I went to Butare. We were on our way by 8am ... the bus ride was over 2 hours long but it was a good trip up. We met a few local girls and talked to them about home and what we would like to see in Butare. They gave us directions and told us how to get to the museum and the university. At one point a little boy around 3 years old had to sit on my mom's lap because there wasn't any room for him and his mother was holding his older brother. The little boy was scared of my mom but his mom told him it was okay and he seemed to relax a bit. We showed a bunch of people on the bus our videos of the gorillas ... they were all amazed !! When we got there we walked to the museum. It was really good ... had a lot of info. about Rwandan culture and the country itself. We bought a few souvenirs for cheap !! Then we took moto-taxis to the university and found a law student to show us where we could eat some lunch. Then we had to ask an assistant professor to help us order our food because none of the restaurant staff spoke english or french ... only kinyarwanda. We ended up having lunch with the assistant professor and found out he used to be a research assistant for the Dian Fossey Institute ... now he's a biology prof !! After lunch we walked down to the genocide memorial. It was really just a mass grave with a bunch of pictures of the people buried there. We walked to the edge of campus and bought our bus tickets back to Kigali. We almost missed our bus though because we didn't know we had to catch one into town and then switch buses to get back to Kigali. If it wasn't for another kind stranger, Bosco, we might not have made it back lol. We thought we were being smart by taking the front seats of the bus but it turns out those are the most uncomfortable seats in the entire bus. There was no room to move our legs and the engine is right below our feet so we were overheating!! It was the worst lol. We arrived back in Kigali at 4pm. Bosco helped us find the right matatu ... he even rode it with us to our stop to make sure we made it safely. We paid for his ride (200 rwf = 35 cents). Ultimately he saved us $9 because it would have cost us $10 to take a taxi. By the time we made it back to the hotel and checked our emails it was after 5pm. I tried calling the NGO "Speak, I am Listening" to find out their address so we could visit them today and they informed me that they were closed on Saturdays. I told her we were leaving the country tomorrow night but she didn't offer to meet us there. I was so mad that we didn't get to visit it. I should have figured all the information out before we left. It's probably something I'll regret for a long time. Then we went for supper at the hotel restaurant. After supper we just went back to the room and visited until bedtime.
This morning we woke up at 8am and ate breakfast at the hotel before taking the matatu to Gisozi Genocide Memorial. I can't even explain how powerful that experience was. I knew a lot of details about the genocide but it finally hit home when I saw all the pictures, listened to survivors stories, and read the details of how the international community failed Rwanda in 1994. They had the skulls and bones of victims on display, along with the weapons used to kill them and the clothing and personal items they found of the victims. They had stories of child victims that was heartbreaking. For example, there was a little 10 year old boy name David whose last words were "Don't worry mom. The UNAMIR will come for us". There are approx. 250,000 people buried at that one memorial centre. We bought a rose and laid it on one of the mass graves as a sign of respect for the dead.
After the genocide museum we walked back down to the bus stop and took the matatu back to our hotel. We ate lunch at the hotel and then walked up to the Amahoro stadium. On our way back down we stopped at a foreign exchange bureau to exchange our Rwandan francs (mom calls them shanks lol) into American dollars. Now we are waiting at the hotel for our ride to the airport. Our flight back to Nairobi leaves at 18:30.
Hope all is well at home. Love you all! Will update soon.