As Promised Rwanda: by the book and as experienced

Hill after hillRwanda FactsSee: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwanda Rwanda is a small, landlocked country in Sub-Sahara Africa. Of all Africa, it has the highest population density with over 11 million people in an area the size of 10,000 sq mi. That is twice the population of Colorado with one-tenth the area! Or 50% more people than in the state of Washington with one-seventh as much land. Kigali, the capital, is located in the center of Rwanda. Like Denver, Kigali is about a mile high (5140 ft), but with the rolling hills, it varies by location in the city. To the east, the land gets higher and hillier and Lake Kivu forms the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo. To the northwest lie the volcanoes and gorilla reserves. To the northeast, Uganda. To the west, the hills become lower, the weather warmer, and the great swamp provides moisture for farming in the dry seasons, leading to Tanzania. To the south, Burundi. Rwanda’s main industries are coffee, tea, and tourism. The government makes the majority of its money by taxing alcohol, but there is about 25% income tax (including social security), and 50-100% duty on vehicle imports. Rwanda as experienced (These thousand hills roll ever on…) Electric wires in the background, but most rural houses do not have electricity or running water.A common way to transport water, milk, and people is the bicycle, but uphill you walk.

Do you remember the song, “The bear went over the mountain”? He went over the mountain to see what he could see. What did he see? He saw another mountain. And another. And another.

Rwanda is a land of rolling hills covered in houses and trees, and valleys covered in crops. It is surprisingly cool here. Technically, we are south of the equator, in Winter. Practically, we are in dry season, but at a mile high with hazy “dry season” skies. The sun isn’t hot. At night, we’ve needed a light blanket in addition to the standard sheet. In fact, it rained for two days before we came, very odd for the dry season, which has tempered the weather even more.

While we passed many types of crops, I only captured this rice patty.

Mosquito nets are necessary while we sleep, but bug spray has not been necessary during the day. The malaria mosquitoes come out later at night, but even the little black and white mosquitoes have been benign, so we have been able to enjoy both sunrise and sunset outside without itchy consequences.

The fruit is fresh and delicious. A usual Rwandan meal consists of potatoes and beans (like refried beans before they have been mashed up).

The language barrier has been difficult, as expected and our continual prayer is that we could both learn more phrases to communicate and make friends with the people. Also, we want to make good connections with those people around us who do speak English.

A common way to transport water, milk, and people is the bicycle, but uphill you walk.

Next post: The National Museum and A genocide memorial: meeting people with stories of conflict

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