Thursday, 14 April 2016

Climb Aboard the Happy Plane

No sudden movements.

I have a hangover.

I do have more pictures of soup and quiche, but later, later...

Last night was so much fun.

My favourite priest was back in town, and we went for dinner at India Khazana (I think it's called Khaza Khazana now). It's one of the best-loved restaurants in Kigali. 

I have a friend called Keza, who was on the human rights program last year. She's looking at setting up a disability charity. I suggested they meet as LB has a charity for young people based in the UK (which is how we originally met). He brought his friends Valerie and Grace.

We had such a good time. Didn't stop laughing all night (well, laughing and heated debates about politics - then laughing). It can be quite difficult to make female friends in Rwanda. In DRC and Burundi (where Keza's originally from) people tend to show their emotions a lot more freely, so you know if someone likes you or not. But here, people (and especially women) are quite reserved about showing their feelings and engaging in open conversation, so it does make things tricky. Last night was just brilliant though, we all gelled (and drank!).

After food, we retired to the lounge to carry on imbibing. At one point a waiter came to take our order. After he left we all just looked at each other. "Why are they dressed as flight attendants?" I asked. Turned out everyone else was wondering the exact same thing. We couldn't hold it together. They were all dressed like the guy in the top photo - really odd. Wondered if they might bring through a mid-drink meal and tell us where the emergency exists were.

LB also recounted our trip to DRC. When he told them where we'd been, his friend Grace looked at me and asked, "Weren't you afraid?"

"I didn't know I needed to be until after."

"I knew that if anything happened we'd all die," LB replied.

"That's not entirely true. You did say that if anyone was going to be kidnapped, it would be-"

"You. Yeah, that's right."

"Yeah," I said. "You know you're in a safe place when the streets are lined with coffin shops." 

What coffin colour would you like?
Red, green, blue - leopard print?

"Weren't you afraid?" Has been the most common response I've had since that little outing.

Honestly, no. Well, a little bit, when we outran the police checkpoint and then got stopped by the coked-up bloke with a big gun. But LB has a horrible ability to make you feel completely safe, even when jumping into the back of a van shouting "go, go, go!"

I'd forgotten what a crazy adventure that was.

Woke up at the mad time of 5am this morning, still grinning like a moron. Then took a nap at 8am and didn't wake up until 1:30!

Such a crazy time ahead. Having trouble keeping up with writing. 

I'm going to have a full house next month. Paul, mum's colleague who quit his job to go travelling, is arriving on 14th for three weeks.

I'm busy booking gorilla permits at the moment. Managed to talk my friend Senga into coming with us. He's a driver, and you have to be at the park stupid early in the morning, so it makes sense for him to come see them too. It's only about £30 for locals (£265 for residents like myself, and £530 for internationals), plus accommodation. But at least we'll have cheap transport in comfort. Also asking Keza if she fancies coming, she's one of the few Rwandans I know who has voluntarily been hiking. 

She once told me: "The whole country is full of hills. So when you suggest to someone 'Do you want to go climb a hill?' they ask 'Why?'" 

Can't fault that logic.

Really looking forward to that as the first time I saw them was in 2008, so it's been a while.

Also trying to decide on other things Paul might like to do: a few days in Kibuye by the lake, the genocide memorials and Habyarimana's Palace, a trip down to Nyanza to see the Mwami (King's) palace and national museum, a few days by the pool.

Then, my former Program Assistant (now Country Director) Maja is back in town. She's looking to stay long-term, so I've offered her my other spare room whilst she gets set up. 

Team Mayoga
L-R: Rose, Me, Maja and Vincent.

So, it's going to be a bit hectic for a few weeks, but also hopefully a lot of fun. Which is why I need to get my liver in training. I'm such a home bunny these days. I'm worried I won't keep up.

LB's back to Goma tomorrow I think, but flying home from Kigali, so hopefully we'll get one more sesh before he leaves. He lifts my (holy) spirit.

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