Being New in Kigali, Rwanda


We did it, yes we made it to Kigali! And we are safe!

Being new somewhere comes with excitement and challenges of course. It’s a whole process. But let’s start with first impressions. On touching the ground we quickly noticed that Kigali was the type of cute/human size city. The airport is small compared to Kotoka one (that I already found small) but well organized. People do things in an orderly manner and you kinda understand how to go about picking your luggage or going through customs on your own. We spent a lot of time just looking at people( not staring!), they are very different in the way they look, the way they dress and the way they relate to each other. No one has a mysterious look on the face  (The malicious/ mischievous look of “hummmmm foreigners, what can I get from them?” ) when you ask a question. They tell you what to do in a straightforward and detached manner. It’s kinda weird after 5 years in Ghana. No one approaches you, they just go about their routine. Since we do not have a routine yet, we just keep quiet and follow the stream. We waited for our luggage for quite some time. Not sure why.

After a while we got out. Staff from my new work place came to pick us up. My boss was there. He is the type that always has some jokes ready to jump out of his mouth. Hummm I think I ll have to run away from him a lot this year. My HR is an adorable lady, she behaves like a mum , always wanting to feed us and to accommodate us. The drive home was short. We immediately noticed the famous hills and understood how small the city is. We made a stop at a supermarket, well I would not call that supermarket but they do. It looked more like a Ghana provision store but with much more items available.

We discovered Rwanda snacks on that night. My HR insisted that we buy some for diner. There were samosas, spring rolls, pizzas and meat pies( they are all over Africa) but those ones were amazing. We bought some yesterday again. We might feed ourselves with those until we know where to buy food here. Those snacks …..they are fab! Tasty, full of well seasoned meat ( not like those tasted before) or full of fresh vegetables that you can actually name and feel in your mouth. The crust is just perfect, not too much flour and they are fried just enough not to be over greasy. The pizzas are also delicious!they have everything on them! Wow ! It might sounds silly but in Ghana we could never buy those in random places or with the bicycle sellers, because they would actually be flour pies and tomato paste pizzas. Here it seems you can randomly buy snacks and they are always generously cooked. Little things….

At first you might have a bit of vertigo or feel sick because of the constant going up and down the hills but you get used to it. After 3 days here, I am fine although wondering how to drive on a almost vertical position most of the time. If you randomly think about the day when you ll have to walk through those hills, that vertigo might come back. On the way home, we could not help noticing the nice view. When on a hill you always have a nice view of the opposite hill. In the night, with the lights it is amazing and same during the day. I spend a lot of time enjoying the view.

The first night at our new place in Remera, on the way to Nyarutarama was good. We slept like babies. After a 12 hours journey from Toulouse with a stop in Brussels it was well deserved.

Being new in a country also means that people try to help you more than you request it. Everyone at my new workplace is very involved in helping us. So much that sometimes it becomes weird. My boss particularly, the one that speaks a lot, thinks he knows everything that is good for us. From food to the car we want to drive and even to the church we must go to. Of course he is a nice guy. He is only trying to help, but we all know how we people from western countries value our freedom, so very often my red lights are on. Like “away, away, away, no go “. That’s when my husband looks at me with a smile, meaning “relax they are just trying to help”.He is so good at this! I am the one ever ready to start a strike.

We also noticed that Rwandans are shy and never try to engage in a conversation. They are busy doing their own stuff. Another weird thing, considering that in Ghana you can rarely be left alone. We are learning a new approach to people. The language thing is also not clear to me. The official language is English but not everyone speaks it, french is widespread but people rather speak kinyarwanda. Making it difficult to communicate at times. You never know which language to speak. Interesting right? We usually go for English and decide to switch to French if the person looks lost. Even with that, I am not sure the person will get it all.Here we go! Another country where I will learn patience. So far so good though. The city is very clean, green, green and green. Weather is dope! No more than 28 c so far. No need for fan and AC, paradise for me in this area. Today we are going to see more of the city, so I ll come back more stories. Cheers!

To find 20 reasons why everyone should live in Kigali, click here :

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