Rwanda 2015 day 18, Thursday 15 October 2015 – The last day.
Surprisingly it doesn’t take that long to pack. We haven’t brought that much personal stuff. A lot of our luggage on the way here were gifts and other things that Rukundo had asked us to bring for them.
Judith does a great job of tidying the bedroom but there hasn’t been any rain for a couple of days so there’s been no water either which means the water tub in our bedroom is nearly empty. Cleaning without water can be tricky.
By lunchtime we are virtually packed. Fofo and Hyacinthe make a special effort for us at lunch as this is our last proper meal with them. Chips, rice, beans of course and some meat. Bless them.
We talk about how it might be best to use the afternoon as we have nothing else left to do.
Rukundo and Erika mention that they are interested in taking a market stall in the city centre market to improve sales of the flour. It’s a covered market and they explain that you can rent a tabletop facility for just £30 a month. Well you can pay up to £100 a month if you want a prime spot but we couldn’t afford that. They would actually really like to show us. Why not?
On the way we see some interesting sights. A hearse Rwandan style. It’s an open back pickup with about half a dozen guys riding in the back around the coffin. They hold a large white cross. Well I guess you don’t have to do it the British way.
Then of course there are the armed security guards and soldiers. I haven’t managed to get decent picture until now. I didn’t really feel like marching up to one and pointing a camera at him. He might in return point something at me which would be rather more intimidating than a camera. I got this shot discreetly from the car. It wouldn’t be true to say that they are everywhere but they are certainly in a lot of places particularly around the city centre or any official establishment. I never saw any trouble but perhaps their presence is the reason why.
The market was quite interesting. The main thoroughfare was busy and presumably that’s the reason for the high prices in this area but the other areas didn’t have a lot of people around although there was a lot of competition selling flour.
It’s an interesting idea but I counselled Rukundo to think carefully. He will have to come up with a reason why people should buy from our stall when there is so much competition and apparently so few customers.
On the way back to the car we pass a lady street sweeper scooping the dirt up with her hands. It’s a clean city but at a price.
Back home I thought it might be nice to have some photographs of the people in the house. It’s quite tricky posting photographs into WordPress from your phone so I’ll just put them straight onto Facebook as soon as I’ve posted this.
We are back for about 6 PM and just time for a light tea before we need to leave. Deo and Aimable have come home early specially.
After tea Rukundo calls us altogether for a final time of prayer and farewell. We pray for each other for the whole move towards community and the businesses we’ve initiated. Very moving. These guys are really grateful that we came to see them.
7:30 PM and we load everything into Deo’s Toyota with Deo, Rukundo and Hyacinthe. Everyone including the children come to shake our hand for the final time. 8 PM and we pull out of the gates. Rather amazingly we pass Adrian on his way home and and stopped to say our farewells to him.
It’s only a 15 minute drive to the airport which is almost deserted by our standards. More final farewells and we make our way towards the entrance and first checkpoint. Oh no! They want all IT devices out. It wasn’t like this on the way here they only needed things out of your hand luggage. I’ve packed my laptop into my main hold luggage which is padlocked and cling filmed. Our hosts can see us still and wait anxiously whilst I rummage frantically under the cling wrap to try and extract my laptop. After about 10 minutes futile struggling the security crew take pity on me and put my luggage through the scanner anyway. I then take 3 attempts to get through the personal metal detector scanner. First I forget my own mobile then there’s my wallet in my back pocket but finally I locate everything metallic and get through without it beeping. Fortunately we can still see Rukundo Deo and Hyacinthe and managed to wave final successful farewell.
However security have not finished with me yet. Probably because I couldn’t get the laptop out they bring the sniffer dogs out to check out my dodgy suitcase. The Alsatian gives it a good 10 minutes going over but finally seems satisfied and the guard nods his approval. Hopefully they will now let us out of the country.
The rest of the check-in is fairly smooth although long winded as ever and by about 10 PM we are ushered out onto the tarmac towards the waiting Airbus A 300. It is by far the largest aircraft that uses Kigali and looks rather magnificent under the floodlights. Judith however is sneezing and looks wasted bless her. She seems to have caught a cold. How do you do that in Africa.
The takeoff is awesome. I love it. The lights of Kigali disappear below us. If you can be bothered to wait until 12 midnight which apparently Judith does they serve you dinner but I knew nothing about it. I get my head down until breakfast at about 4 AM! Amsterdam and then Birmingham here we come.
It has been a truly amazing time and more successful than we had dared to hope. Thank you all very much for your prayers, practical help, support and financial contributions. Quite literally without you we couldn’t have done it.