I’m quite glad that even long-winded discussions can result in simple statements like this one. On the other hand, what is at stake is not the stomach’s happiness after a meal of either bruschettes or Pizza, but rather the fate of an entire village.
Cooperating with the UN-habitat to bring electricity to a Tanzanian refugee village this year has been probably one of the most challenging, but also rewarding experiences. When you enter the village just about an hour’s drive from Rwanda’s capital Kigali, you realise that this should not actually be called one. Merely a collection of 50 houses organised in three straight lines of 19, 19 again and then 12 houses, but without bar, kiosk or anything remotely business-like, the villagers still seem to be in the process of finding out what their actual role in the village is.
After a 4 and half hour, bumpy and cramped bus ride from Kigali, we’re finally there…. Banda!
The site where our colleagues from DHE implemented two pico-hydro sites.Population: 7000 – local partners: KAGENO – zero grid implementation plans till 2050.
We get off the bus, all excited to see a new typical Rwandan village… But wait… WHERE ARE ALL THE HOUSES?? We’re in the middle of a jungle! Exotic trees, huge worms, insane amounts of insects, weird bird noises all over, a bunch of monkeys crossing the road. We’re actually very close to the Nyungwe national reserve. But no sign of any human being…
To my surprise, they tell us the village is actually around one hour and 45min from the road!
No we are not talking about the browsing experience developed by a certain US company that can be dreadfully slow in Rwanda. Last weekend we experienced the ancient meaning behind safari. The word itself comes from the East African language Swahili and means, “to travel”. During the period of colonialism the word was adopted by Europeans to describe the act of travelling to watch wild animals. Rwanda is the perfect spot to do so with three national parks offering a wide variety of species in different climatic regions. The Volcano National Park in the North, known for its Gorillas, the jungle-like Nyungwe National Park in the South West, which neighbours Congo and Burundi, and the Akagera National Park savannah bordering Tanzania.
Amakuro, greetings from the land of a thousand hills! Our expedition team is enjoying the first week in Rwanda, and I have plenty of exciting news to keep you guys updated. The adventure began even before we arrived in Rwanda, with one team member forgetting to check that his passport was actually already expired (blame the Europeans for not requiring a passport when traveling within Europe, haha). When we landed at Addis Ababa for transit, the oxygen mask compartment a few rows ahead of us decided to fall from the plane ceiling, which made me all the more appreciative of physically getting to Rwanda in one piece.