Friday, 31 October 2014

Now, we wait...

My sunflowers are in bloom!

As are many other flowers in my garden:

Think those last ones are potatoes.

Damascene came in yesterday to offer me a mango. There were two on the tree, one for him, one for me. So excited to be eating a mango from my own garden! I chopped it up with pineapple, tree tomatoes and bananas as a fruit salad. Delicious.

In other news, look what happened to my baby courgette:

A baby no longer. It's the biggest courgette I've ever seen and it just keeps growing. I have no idea when I'm supposed to pick it. I'd like to let it get as big as possible without it going over.

Anyway. Immigration came today to have a chat about my business. I've applied to extend my visa from six months to two years. It doesn't run out until January, but I wanted to apply early because, with the type of work I do, I could get offered a contract into next year, and I want to make sure I can accept if that happens. I also just wanted to get the question out the way.

I think it went well. The guy was impressed by how much money we've turned over in just three months. I hope he's impressed enough. Thinking it went well, should find out next week. If I get it, I continue with the business. If I don't, I blow money being a total tourist for the next couple of months, then head home for a re-think.

Unfortunately, it's a bad time to be applying as a British citizen. It was always free for UK passport holders to get a three-month tourist visa in Rwanda, but then the BBC released a documentary that didn't go down too well and now they've introduced a $30 fee. Bad timing for Dan. He entered for free, but when he comes back from Kampala he's likely to have to pay to re-enter, on top of the $50 entry to Uganda. Thank you very much BBC. Hoping it won't adversely affect my own application.

Just have to wait and see.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Lake Muhazi

Had an absolutely wonderful day today.

After Gisozi yesterday, I decided it was time to show Dan how truly beautiful Rwanda is. We called up Pierre and decided to head out of town for the day to Lake Muhazi. I had originally planned Jambo Beach near Gahini as that's the only place I really knew, but instead Pierre took us out to this incredible, secluded paradise.

It was my first time out of Kigali since getting back in May, and I was more than ready for an adventure. We stopped off at Nyabugogo to get Dan's ticket for Kampala, then drove back towards Kisimenti, my old stomping ground.

At 0:49 on the right you can see where the old VSO office used to be when I was here from 2007-09. Fond memories.

Man sitting on top of lorry.
Health & Safety be damned!

Poorer Houses in Kigali.

Road towards Kanombe.
Turn left for Muhazi and the East.

The Open Road

Fish Farm

Banana Trees

Eventually we pulled off-road for about half an hour, heading for the lake.

We turned a corner and heard the strangest cacophony of sound. We weren't sure whether it was frogs or birds - then we looked up. Bats! A whole tree of bats.

At the very end of the road was a small grass carpark and an incredibly lovely hotel right on the water's edge. 

We ordered food and threw ourselves in the lake for a swim. I had forgotten how utterly beautiful Lake Muhazi is, and this place was much quieter and even more green than Jambo Beach. Floating on my back, watching the black and white Kingfishers fly overhead - heaven. 

Then a guy in a wooden paddle boat came over and we decided to take a trip to the opposite shore.

The Opposite Shore

We almost did a Jack Sparrow on the way back as the boat was leaking a little!

But we made it safe and sound and tucked into a plate of chicken and chips.

I can now officially say that I've driven in Rwanda! Not just driven, but driven a swanky 4x4 for the first time, off road in the dark, dodging children, bicycles, motos and goats! It was a lot of fun and a real test of skill as the roads are pretty bumpy. 

The next morning Damascene gave the car a wash. I'm going to miss it when Jo gets back, but still haven't built up the courage to drive in town yet. A perfect day.