Finally, after two marathon flights from Washington, D.C. we have arrived in Kigali, Rwanda. It’s night and the air is cool and fresh, a welcome breath of African air. Our guides, 3 to 4 young journalists lead by Fred Mwasa greet us with smiles. We load the bus in near zombie like fashion and begin our journey to Serena Hotel.
Our “fixer” Fred is full of energy and enthusiasm. He not only is passionate about his country but he’s also passionate about journalism. As he introduces his colleagues, Casey, Jean he emphasis they are all young because Rwanda is a country of young people. We “seasoned” reporters sort of giggle but by the third time he mentions how young the people of Rwanda are it occurs to me that there reason they are all so young is because so many were killed during the genocide.
What also strikes me is the fact that the roads here, at least so far here in Kigali are new, smooth, pot hole free. Fred explains the Chinese have been contracted to build roads something certainly a society needs. “While Americans want to give us democracy, the Chinese asked what we needed and we told them roads, so they build us roads.”
Security at the lovely Serena Hotel is tight because a two-day conference of African leaders. But as I enter the beautiful lobby I see it has been worth the wait. Gorgeous marble floors and high ceilings and mahogany furniture decorate the lobby.
My guess is the majority of people in Rwanda do not live like this. I’m off for my first excursion in this country of contradictions.