The bar that sold bananas

Wise words I once heard while buying bananas in a bar in Kigali, Rwanda in 2008: ‘Nothing can heal without truth; education seeks truth; so, nothing can heal without education.’ *** Occasionally on the way home from work at the Kigali Genocide Memorial in Rwanda, I would go down to a little grocery shop down…

Electric-green unplugged

Today it’s April the 7th 2018, a day that marks the 24th anniversary of the start of the Rwandan genocide. One million people were killed in a hundred days in one of the darkest, most horrific, most shameful periods in history. This post is part of the series ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’ first…

The nemesis of my sole

Heel gobbler. Lace snapper. Tongue cracker. In the stony, dusty backstreets of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, shoes took one hell of a daily beating. Twice in my first three months my shoes needed resoling. The Kigali streets eat up shoes with a clinical assault; abrasive sands rub them down on every tread; rainwater softens…

Getting to work, Rwanda style

Whoever first coined the term ‘the Dark Continent’ to describe Africa was either wearing very powerful sunglasses, or was nocturnal. The Rwandan sun is enthusiastic, its light is sharp and sunrise is rapid – the sun doesn’t drag itself up; it skyrockets in a steep trajectory and by the start of my commute at 7.30am…

A letter from the heart of Africa: settling in fine

 Dear friends, I made it, I’m here, in Kigali, Rwanda, writing to you from the hilly heart of a distant continent. I’ve been here a week now and I’m settling in fine. On the flight here, just as we passed Lake Victoria, the land suddenly rose to resemble a fairytale kingdom, a mountain fortress, rising…

The flight to Rwanda and getting rid of the contraband

After a short layover in Nairobi airport, the great African plains appeared below us, followed by Lake Victoria, its shoreline edged in pink flamingoes between jealous, grey clouds. (This is part of a series of posts called Letters from the Heart of Africa and a table of contents and background can be found here. This…

Peter and the soup confusion

Peter, my Rwandan housemate, is a man of many talents – he’s my gym training buddy, my security guard, a law student and a boxing champion for the Kigali Police First Team. I don’t really need a security guard, Kigali is the safest city I’ve ever lived in, but I enjoy his company especially at…