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KJ’s Travel Diary

Friday, 07 Oct 2011

Location: Kigali, Rwanda

MapWow... my last day... and there is enough time, electricity and a stable internet connection, fantastic!
I leave Kigali in about 11 hours and I am excited to be coming home, but I won't get back to Penticton until Sunday evening. I am spending about 24 hours in Vancouver with my brother to break up the long journey. I can't wait to see everybody!!
How to sum up the last week???
Well, going back to Kahama felt like a bit of a home-coming because Brenda, Rob, Glen and Twyla and a few of the locals now feel like family and things were familiar. On Saturday, we made arrangements for our trip back to Kigali and in the evening ended up in Kahama's best nightclub "Club Dimples" with Joseph (our usual waiter at the restaurant we often ate at) and Andrew and Attanas (a couple of Dr.s from the Hospital). It was pretty "upscale" for small-town Tanzania, and dancing was fun and they looked after us very well. Joseph made sure I got back to the rest-house safely and then made sure Brenda (who wanted to stay out later with the guys) did, too.
He was also ready to take me to his church the next morning, which was awesome. (AIC- African Inland Church) I knew most of the songs (not in Swahili, of course, but the tunes were the same), and Joseph asked me, "Are you AIC?" :) The awkward part was being dragged to the front and introduced to 300 people and not bringing enough money for an offering as well as the second-offering that was really public (we are talking role-call and announcing how much each person gave!) yikes - they were raising money for a new speaker.... personally, I thought the service was loud enough already. :) Joseph covered for me nicely, though.
In the afternoon, our team was invited to Dr. Subi's for lunch. It was a big feast, delicious and very welcoming. Then very early Monday morning we left. :( It was a bit sad, but Joseph came to the bus station to say "good-bye". That was cool. The new pavement on the highway was also wonderful.
After 9 hours (or so) we were met by Jean-Claude and Franklin and we got to stay at Franklin's for two nights. Great other than another round of bad gut trouble for both Brenda and I.
We met their neighbour a lady who is at least 105! A young soul, who danced a bit and loved seeing us and Franklin's kids. She told us about the old courtship/wedding rituals in Rwanda. Really cool.
Then I got to go to another genocide memorial site and a basket-waeaver's home. That night was Franklin's birthday. 13 of his friends and family were there including Brenda and I. More fun dancing and I was honored with a new Rwandan name.
Usually at a baby-naming ceremony friends and family suggest names and the parents think about it overnight and name the child the next day. Here, everyone wrote down a suggestion and Franklin translated their meanings for me. Wow.... they chose some beautiful names for me. They made me choose, but I couldn't pick only one... they let me have both of my top-2 choices... my new name is Keza-Mbabazi. :) Got a nice ring to it, eh? It means beautiful one, giving mercy. I like it a lot.
We went back to Kigali for the last two nights and tried to get my flight on the same day as Brenda's, but couldn't, so I am hanging out with Denise (Brenda's friend from previous trips) today. Yesterday we went to the memorial for the Belgian soldiers who were killed at the start of the genocide in 1994 and back to the cool markets. My bags are full again. There is not much else to do here, but I have a few more hours to go... I am looking forward to seeing everyone again soon. Hope you are all well.
Sorry I haven't been able to get up any photos, yet. Brenda has been able too, so you can check out her blog... I mean't to give you this link before, but better late than never. She has done a great job. http://www.planetranger.com/brendalowe/
bye for now.... kj