My mum, the pilot

Once upon a time, a little girl was told that women shouldn’t fly airplanes … I grew up knowing ‘mum flew planes’. This was one of a series of simple facts in my childhood: my sister and I were born in London; our parents came from India; dad sang; mum flew. She told us stories…

A Festering Malice: the Grenade Attack

What kind of person would throw a grenade at a cemetery? What must happen in a person’s mind for them to be that sick? A heady mix of festering malice, an arrogant disrespect for the sanctity of the dead, a remorseless psyche filled with hate. So many years after the event, I still found that…

Photos of our walk in York

Last weekend we visited York a quaint walled city in northern England, full olde worlde charm, cobbled streets filled with lopsided pubs and sweets shops and the imposing 13th century medieval cathedral, the York Minster. The Castle Museum has a recreated Victorian Street complete with actors[/caption] ***

The Day When Time Slowed Down

Einstein said that the faster you travel, the more time slows down. In fact, if you travel at the speed of light, time slows down a lot. What Einstein never mentioned though was that time also slows down with grief. After my first few days working at the Memorial Centre I noticed there were piles…

Moonlight on the Waves

When lovers first meet on a chance encounter, there’s usually a chain of random events unfolding up to that moment. The less likely, the more meandering the route, the more remarkable the story. For my Uncle Chris to meet Auntie Rose, events conspired to involve a wrecked ship, being stranded on a coral reef for…

Paris in the sun

Last month, I made my 7th visit to Paris. Here’s a few of our photos from our weekend in that wonderful beautiful city where there’s always something new to do … *** We got caught in a shower at sunset and as we passed the Pantheon, the clouds parted to show the tip of the…

The Spotless City

How could a city in a developing country be so completely litter-free? From the airport taxi, the streets of Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, looked swept and spotless; not a sweet wrapper or plastic packet fluttered in the wind; there were no cigarette butts on the ground  or pockmarks of chewing gum defacing its pavements. Every street,…

Politicians and Popstars

Over the years the Kigali Genocide Memorial has been visited by countless celebrities and dignitaries; Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Natalie Portman, Ben Affleck, Ban Ki Moon, George Bush and Bill Clinton to name just a few. The centre’s tour guides like Honore, Henriette, Serge, Emmanuel and David would guide them completely unfazed by their stardom…

Retracing the Footsteps of Our Paris Engagement

I had always said to my then girlfriend Sarah that I would never propose to her in Paris; ‘it’s too cliche,’ I had said, but it was a ruse, a little white lie, that ensured a certain element of surprise. I wanted it to be a surprise for Sarah had hardly dropped any hints about…

My friends, the survivors

I settled in to my role as an adviser at the Kigali Genocide Memorial – I got a desk, there was wifi and I had a workplan agreed with my boss Freddy. My colleagues made me feel at home as soon as I was introduced to them at our Monday morning meeting. What struck me at…

The Chatter of the Raindrops

Continuing the series Letters from the Heart of Africa.  My first few nights in Rwanda brought me shallow, dreamless sleeps; when I awoke I was unsure that I had even slept at all. My new home was so different to my home in London. The birdsong, distant voices from the street in unrecognisable tongues, the…