The Rwandan border
After spending a night camping with the others at Bunyonyi, Nicholas and Apollo kindly drove me through Kabale to the border at Katuna. They accompanied me as far as they could, before leaving me to cross no-man’s land. They found it hilarious at my incredulity as my holdall was emptied and various plastic bags thrown away – they are not allowed in Rwanda.
As I filled in the immigration papers, the friendly border guard was fascinated by my profession. It’s so much more interesting nowadays to write ‘football coach’ instead of ‘IT Consultant’, and led to lots of questions. It was by no means an interrogation at the hands of a stern official, more an extremely amiable chat with a fellow football fan keen to learn more about how my job had led me to this part of the world.
I had to make my excuses and cut the conversation short, as a bus to the capital, Kigali, was being held up just for me. The journey is about fifty miles, and the first half an hour or so was like being on a rollercoaster. In my rush to stay inconspicuous as the only mzungu on board, I had darted to the back seat. I realised the error of my ways as I was thrown about like a dinghy stuck in a whirlpool, bringing back memories of whitewater rafting on the Nile a couple of months before.
Then something amazing happened. Tarmac. We take it for granted back home but it was a joy to reach smooth roads, which continued all the way to Kigali.
As the bus approached the outskirts of the city one thing immediately became apparent after spending time in Uganda…how clean the place was. As well as the ban on plastic bags, there were actually litter bins! I wasn’t sure if everywhere was so clean due to Rwandans’ (or is it Rwandese? I have heard and read both) pride in their surroundings, or because of the punishments meted out to litterbugs, but it was a pleasure to behold nonetheless!
Posted on May 2, 2012, in 2. The Rwandan border and tagged ban on plastic bags, border with Rwanda, cleanliness in Rwanda, Kabale, Katuna, Rwanda, tarmac in Africa. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.