Motos and Muzungu

I feel like I haven’t blogged in a while! I don’t really have a set routine here, so I can’t exactly keep track of the days…ooops. Honestly, I do spend a good amount of time on my laptop. It’s not because I’m being boring – I have work to do! I’m currently still employed as a Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant at TAMU, so I have assignments/papers to write for that, my thesis that needs to be written, and the SC Johnson case study that helped finance my trip here. I’m keeping busy, but at least I have a nice patio and table to call my office 🙂

Motos are everywhere. Every street corner, popular area etc have at least three waiting. All I have to do is wave a hand or go “ssssssss” and they will all come zooming! Gisenyi is not a huge town, but it’s rocky and hilly, so taking a moto around town is very handy. They cost 300 RWF to get anywhere in town and around 700-1000 to get to the outskirts of town (1USD=645 RWF)…pretty good deal!

The moto drivers are crazy – they weave around cars, drive within inches of pedestrians, and go speeding up and down the rocky hills! But it’s an adventure! Yesterday, we took a moto ride to the outskirts of town to grab a drink (but the real reason was the because it’s a beautiful ride to that bar!). I took a video of part of the drive…notice we had to swerve to avoid hitting the goats in the road :0 (having trouble uploading the video, maybe that will be on facebook)

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Another thing here is the word “muzungu”, which means white person. I hear it everywhere. People stare, call out muzungu, little kids try to speak English, shake hands etc. It’s not meant to be insulting or a slur, just merely an observation. I had a group of kids shout “muzungu goodbye!” at me for an hour straight one day. The guy I was with explained that I was probably the only white person they’d see for a year, so yea, they were excited. They also love having their picture taken…super adorable.

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New experiences every day, it’s definitely keeping me entertained. I can’t believe I’ve been here for more than three weeks!

Beautiful Rwanda

I have been absolutely astounded at how beautiful this country is. I did not have many expectations or did extensive research on what Rwanda is actually like before I came here. So it has been a pleasant surprise! In some ways, it reminds me of Vietnam (for those of you who have traveled there, it may paint a little better picture)…only better and cleaner.

Crops

Rwanda is named the land of 1,000 hills and it is so true. We had a three-hour drive from Kigali to Gisenyi and it was up and down, winding around mountains and hills. Amazingly, we were on a nice paved road for the whole drive! Everywhere we looked there were hills and even volcanoes.

Rwanda has the highest population density of any country in Africa. This means that there are people everywhere and the agriculture is everywhere. The hills and high population pose a unique challenge for agriculture and not a foot of ground goes unused. There are goats and sheep ties on the sides of every road eating grass and crops growing everywhere. This makes for some pretty interesting drives!

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For our coffee mill visit, we had an hour drive through some fairly remote areas. No paved roads, which were very narrow, and lots of small houses dotted the area. But it was breathtaking. We were going up and down the mountainside with Lake Kivu right next to us. The lake is very clear and well kept too. Rwanda has two heavy rainy seasons every year, so there are many springs and small waterfalls along the way.

Gisenyi

Can’t wait to explore more of the country! (Bonus points to whomever knows what crop is growing in the first picture…)

Lake Kivu