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…

The Revenge of the Typo: How a Print Error Nearly Ended My Career

We all make typos don’t we? Of course we do, because we bloggers are human and proofreaders are luxuries. Nevertheless, they’re so annoying, the way they play hide and seek, like little germs, taking refuge in our blogposts till  we hit the big blue ‘Publish’ button, after which point they come crawling out of the…

The Shimmering Lake in the Shadow of the Volcano

In the very heart of Africa, between Rwanda and D.R. Congo, is a silvery, majestic lake framed by breezy palms and sandy shores. Beside her sits an angry old volcano, at his top sits a lake of red hot lava. Because the volcano’s lava would now and again spew down his slopes and swallow forests,…

Stolen socks and missing underpants

One morning I phoned my friend Thierry. “Someone’s stolen my clothes.” “I can lend you clothes,” he said. Thierry was resourceful and full of solutions to problems – he could get things and repair things, and looked after the centre’s building and maintenance. “No but they’ve stolen my socks. Even Peter didn’t see anything.” He…