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…

Climbing Mount Karisimbi

CLIMBING MOUNT KARISIMBI , a snow-capped volcano between Rwanda and the DR Congo, the tallest peak in the Virungas, was an arduous and fascinating experience. Many mountains, no matter how high, give you ice-field after ice field, lenghthy scrambles over loose scree and unending deja vu of switch-backs. But Mount Karisimbi is a consummate entertainer, performing…

Travels with Dr Muss – Healing the Memories

I started ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’ over 15 months ago and now, 34 posts and 50,000 words later I’m finally nearing the home straight. Thanks so much for following this series so far, I’ve certainly enjoyed writing it and going through my journal which had lay untouched for 10 years before I starting blogging….

Where you never walk alone

In contrast to my daily commute in London, my walk home in Kigali was rarely dull, no two journeys were ever the same. Sometimes I encountered friendly faces and random, curious hellos. At times it felt welcoming and for anyone who’s ever consistently made an urban commute, in the hushed solemnity of an underground of…

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…

In Search of Silence and the Missing Female to Female Nine Pin

It’s been a few months since I last posted for the series ‘Letters from the Heart of Africa’. We are now over halfway through with 21 posts (A list of these are at the bottom of this post – I aim to finish the series by the middle of 2018!). Thanks for your patience with…

A weekend in the rural beauty of Rwanda

One Friday after work, I took a bus from Kigali till I reached a sleepy village called Gahini beside a lake that, by late afternoon, shone like mercury. Paula , a VSO teacher on a 3 year placement, had invited some of us volunteers for a weekend break and raring to see the countryside I…

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,…

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…

Banana-leaf balls, making friends and a bitter falling out

The twin pillars of passion in Rwanda are Christianity and English Premier League Football. The sides of the small buses, the mutatus, are adorned with colourful reminders of this: Wayne Rooney; a picture of Christ; Steven Gerard; sayings from the Bible; a picture of Didier Drogba; the Virgin Mary. Strangely the juxtaposition isn’t incongruous on…