Monday, February 21, 2011

Getting away from Rwamagana

We’ve had quite a lot of visitors but to date we haven’t been anywhere else apart from Kigali to get provisions. So we were invited this weekend to visit Joan in Byumba. She is setting up a Resource Centre in the Teacher Training College there. It’s the highest town in Rwanda near the volcanoes in the North. The shorter version across country would involve maybe an hour and a half on a moto up and down hill, risking life and limb. Not a chance on earth! So we set off early and went into Kigali and changed to go north on the bus. Much better buses go up that way, thank goodness and we delighted in the amazing views. Every bit of land seems to be cultivated no matter how remote. The panorama was breathtaking even if a little misty. It took four hours to get there from door to door. Joan was waiting for us. We were a little jealous of the supermarket were we met up with its local Gouda cheese, yogurt and chocolate but we resisted apart from the yogurt. More of the women there were wearing traditional dress than were we lived and the feel was quite different.
View from the house
Joan treated us to a lovely home cooked lunch but the thunder and the storm stopped us from going out until it was time to go to the B&B where all three of us were staying the night and having dinner. A lovely place by the name of Hospitality Hotel with a charming host called Elijah who had just got married and his younger wife was now expecting a baby. Dinner was enough for ten and there were only three of us. Lots of stories were exchanged and we had a great time. After a comfortable but cold night with blankets, it was still raining with continuous thunder. We feared we would get very wet so got a rare car taxi to the bus park and then the bus to Kigali. By the time we arrived in the capital it was dry and hot. We spent a couple of hours shopping for things we can’t get in Rwamagana e.g. chopped ham and pork, tuna, tinned tomatoes etc. and this time treated ourselves to some German bread, local cheese and two slices of ham. What a treat for the evening. We don’t have a fridge but our house is quite cool so it will be alright for a day or two. We are trying to resist the treats that can be bought in the Kigali supermarkets until we are absolutely desperate.

Just as we were about to eat, our landlord who lives in the big house next door rang up and invited us on the spot to visit him. We went round a few minutes later to find about twenty people having a great time with their very generous host. Meal and plenty of drink was provided. It was a celebration because the landlord had presented a cow to someone in his family. There were many speeches in Kinyarwanda and much jollity. We were made really welcome. At around 9pm everyone stood and prayed and departed. There’s a first time for everything. So we had the special treats for breakfast and lunch today. Tonight I’m going to experiment with my first spaghetti bolognaise and roti (chapatti) made with the best cuts from a tin of corned beef!

To see the pictures of Byumba, click on the picture below……

One last thing, we invested in a plate rack for the washing up. What luxury! Mary has just tried to convince the domestique that it is for drying and not for storing plates etc. I’m not sure she managed but time will tell!


  1. Chopped ham and pork, just like we used to get in Sesheke!

  2. We are loving your blog - can't wait to come to Rwanda in September to Byumba with VSO. Doing lots of background reading at the moment and downloading music onto the ipod in readiness. Look forward to your next instalment. Lesley Hooper, Frome, Somerset.


Hi, hope your enjoy reading about our adventures in Rwanda. We'd love to hear from you. Stephen and Mary