Two motos, a priest and a cave

It sounds like the beginning to a lame joke, but the joke was on me because that was my Sunday.

Recently, I met some girls in town that are volunteers at a local orphanage. One of them, Victoria, and I decided to get out of Gisenyi for the day and explore.

Our Rubavu district tourist map said there were caves in Busasamana to explore and a local travel guide agreed. So we set out to find the caves.

After negotiating with the motos, taxis, and minibuses for the best deal, we hopped on the back of two motos and were off! Pretty quickly, our nice paved road disappeared and dirt and rocks took its place.

We drove for about an hour, on an uphill dirt path (my legs were very sore from it!) through local villages that probably hadn’t seen a muzungu in years, if ever. I knew our plan would be slightly derailed when our motos needed us to pull out our map and started asking the locals….oh no.

All of the sudden, a beautiful church appeared…umm that’s not a cave?! Not only that, mass had just finished, so Victoria and I drove into the church lot as more than 100 Rwandans gawked. We were sitting on our motos dying of laughter….unfortunately, so much that I didn’t get a picture of the scene. Before we knew it, the priest was greeting us and inviting us inside for a Fanta. Who can say no to a priest?!

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So off the motos we got and joined Father Victor and altar boy Jean Marie for Fanta inside the church. The nuns made an appearance as well.

We discussed Rwanda, the church, and the mysterious caves we were in search of, but not before they asked me to join the church, stay in Rwanda, and become a nun! Sorry Father, never going to happen!

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The Father passed us along to another man who walked us through some fields and the cave. While he showed us a cave, it was certainly not the ones advertised! I’m pretty brave, but I will not do an army crawl for an hour to get to another village! Yikes.

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Off we went on our motos again. We drove through a different village and everyone kept shouting Katie, Katie and running after me….hmmm, all muzungus with brown hair look alike, right? 🙂

The drive back was beautiful as usual. The hills, fields, clouds, and people of this country still take my breath away and make me so grateful for getting to experience it.

While we didn’t get to explore the caves, we had one hell of a Sunday! 

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!

View

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