Did you know Kigali started after Dr. Richard Kandt the German colonial commissioner made his colonial outpost there. His residence is now the home to the Natural History Museum also known as the Kandt house. Walking around Kigali you get a sense of how first things are changing with lots of development and building happening all over the place giving it a look of a first developing city. I like city tours because they give me a glimpse into the city beyond my hotel and conference/expo centre. It is even better if I can explore the city on foot or bodaboda (especially for East Africa) as opposed to the car.
I visit Kigali quite a lot because of the work, sometimes I get to tour around and other times I am unable because of busy schedule but on this particular assignment I was able to. After visiting the Kandt house museum, my next place was the Kigali genocide memorial – this was my first and certainly last visit to this place. I know that I will bring people here but no one will convince me to go through the tour of this place again. Growing up in Mbarara, the genocide in Rwanda is something we heard about on the radio but the most depressing was seeing dead bodies floating in River Kagera that would soon pour into Lake Victoria. For that whole period we were told that fishing was not allowed and therefore no fish was on anyone’s menu. Visiting this place was brought all such memories back to mind but in a more closer way.
I also visited the Belgium’s soldiers monument commemorate the life of the Belgian soldiers that tried to help in stopping the genocide when the French troops and UN decided to leave the area. I did not have a desire to stay long here and instead went to the Nyamirambo women’s center to look at their different materials on sale. They do have excellent work which I recommend to anyone who would like to leave with a piece of Rwanda. They also organize community tours in Nyamirambo but these were of no interest to me. I spent the rest of the day walking in the city, taking photographs. I also went to Mt Kigali and got great views of the city.