The journey out of Kigali

As our hydro kiosk in Rugaragara is where we shall implement our new battery boxes this year, Yuchen and I travelled down to the site yesterday, to do ground work before the big day and also do some more testing on our boxes.

In the past few days, I have been saying to the crew that I didn’t feel like I am in Africa. In the capital Kigali, it very much feels like a capital city, as if it were in the West. There are a few high rise buildings, shops everywhere, working traffic lights (although the green man does walk very awkwardly) and well, miles and miles of paved roads.

On the 5-hour journey out of Kigali, my impression of Africa starts to appear before me. In my head, the part of Africa that Rwanda is in has trees you should see in rainforests, evidence of deforestation, and buildings with metalroof populate itself on relatively steep hills. But what was extra were people smiling, children waving at cars and everyone seems very chilled. I very much doubt you will see that if you were driving out of London, perhaps around the M25 ring.

Around half way through our road trip, we stopped for lunch at Butare in the Huye district. It was a buzzing town – no surprise there since it was the former capital of Rwanda. Then eventually, the tarmac ran out. It was quite a rocky and hilly journey to the kiosk, but the views were beautiful.

We did some testing and maintenance at the kiosk and initial signs show things are going well there. For me, the highlight of the day would be the “climb” from the kiosk to the car at the end of the day. My DofE days definitely did not prepare me for Rwandan hills – the walk was around 1km from 1976m to 2080m. I was quite short of breath after 5 minutes, but the most embarrassing bit was when I reached the top, the locals were laughing and the children looked a bit scared about this guy breathing so heavily. Time to up my fitness when I head back to London I think!



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