Rwanda: The Positives

My last post on Rwanda had an error of omission, I only wrote about the things that bother me about this country but not what I love and I was reminded by a couple of readers. So here goes what’s good about Rwanda: Disclaimer: This is in no way an accurate guide to Rwanda. This is entirely subjective and based on my experiences here so far. The first thing I love about this country is it’s cleanness. I’ve never seen a cleaner EA country, never mind I’ve only been to Uganda and of course Kenya (of which am a citizen). They do not allow polythene bags in the country and as such there are no roadside eyesores that continue to rustle and float around in the wind. Yesterday, I finally saw Kigali in daylight and it’s manicured roads and pedicured sidewalks. With flowers, trees and that beautiful roundabout with a fountain in the middle. Wish I had carried a camera but maybe I can google a pic:

Kigali Fountain

The fountain at the Kigali roundabout. It’s beautiful

The second good thing about this country is its beauty. Oh I know, we say Kenya is beautiful, but Kenya is diverse. Some parts are beautiful and some parts you may not want to go. But Rwanda is made up of thousands (possibly) of hills and mountains. The roads wind up and down the hills and valleys and the views are breathtaking. The mountain gorillas can only be found in Rwanda, Uganda and Congo: at the national park that the three countries share though it’s called different names in the different countries.


Rwanda Countryside

Most of Rwanda’s countryside looks like this

The third thing is security. You can walk around at any time of the night, something you cannot do in Kenya. There are army patrols, police patrols and community security patrols. They do not harass ordinary citizens as they walk around at night, the way sometimes in Kenya the police can rough you up, ask you for ID and a bribe, or just a bribe outright. Another thing is Rwandans’ obedience to traffic laws and general rules of law. Kenya has to be one of the worst places to drive in, nobody follows traffic rules, not even pedestrians. Boda boda (motorbike) operators do not have helmets for themselves, let alone for their passengers. Here in Rwanda, it’s a rule to have a helmet both for the passenger and for the driver (cycler?) Lest I forget the friendliness of the people I have met so far. From the guest house where I live to the AoC place of work, from Volcana Lounge where I sometimes hang out playing pool to the market where I shopped. There is no hostility or impatience that you find so common in Nairobi. In terms of development, I’d say Rwanda is ripe for it. They have a Rwanda Development Boards that oversees all areas of development including conservation of the environment. Registering a business should not take you long and am sure they’ll proved you with all the information you need. The roads are fairly smooth and wherever they are starting to wear off, I’m seeing repair works going on (always a Chinese guy in charge, just like in Kenya).

Lowland gorilla

A low-land gorilla resting. He/she is actually in an orphanage which I visited recently at Kinigi, near the Volcanoes National Park


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