Why Rwanda? Why Africa? How did I end up here?
I’ve been drawn to Africa for a long time. I can’t remember when it all began but at some point I started reading more and more about this continent. Then I joined dance classes with Angolan and Congolese instructors in Warsaw, and learnt some kuduro and mapouka moves. When I was planning my holidays in Brazil, I inevitably veered towards its most “African” state – Bahia. At uni I got into the so-called postcolonial literature, and even though I ended up getting my MA in Australian literature (because no one else had done it before in my department but also because two of my friends from the seminar group were writing their dissertations on African literature so I wanted to explore a new territory), I kept returning to African themes. This continent’s diversity and complex history simply fascinated me. I found it hard to comprehend how all those nations with their distinctive cultures, thousands of languages, different religions, inhabit one mass of land labelled simply – Africa. Too many people forget that it comprises 54 states, with over 1 billion people and about 3,000 distinct ethnic groups. And you really can’t compare Egypt with Mozambique or Ghana with Mauritius. I was lucky to spend nearly 4 years in South Africa and travelled a bit around the region. Namibia was like a different planet, and tiny Lesotho, surrounded by South Africa, looked nothing like its only neighbour. And then I went to Ghana for a few days with work, and its hot and humid air smelled completely different from Pretoria’s dry breeze, and the streets of Accra were full of cars blasting azonto music. Everywhere you go, people look different, speak different languages, wear different clothes, eat different things. It’s a constant mental rollercoaster, and I love it 🙂 So when my partner announced that he’s thinking of applying for a job in Rwanda, I nearly jumped out of my skin with excitement. Most people can think of only one thing about this country – the genocide. Maybe also mountain gorillas. But there is so much more to it, and my short visit to this beautiful place last year only confirmed this. I have read a lot about Rwanda and about what happened there in 1994 but I always wondered what it was like to live there at present. So while I keep on reading and watching documentaries, I now have the opportunity to spend some time in The Land of a Thousand Hills. This blog will not just be about Rwanda though. I am hoping to travel around a bit so will share stories from other places too. There will be tips on places worth visiting and events worth going to, book and film reviews, and random musings about life. Hope you enjoy reading all this 🙂