Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

To visit Rwanda and not see the gorillas is a bit like going to Egypt and not see the Pyramids. You can of course skip them if it’s not something you find interesting but I think you somehow miss something important: an encounter with a key element of the local culture and identity. For Rwanda, gorillas as the main source of income. They are also a national heritage and a symbol of progress in conservation efforts.
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How to dress in Rwanda

Today, I took part in a training session on how to present your best self, mainly in terms of networking. We had a week of learning and development sessions in the office, and I picked this one as I felt I needed it most. But I don’t want to talk about the course itself, rather about what one of my Rwandan colleagues said to me during one of the exercises. It was nice, but quite surprising! Continue reading “How to dress in Rwanda”

Presidential elections in Rwanda

Today is a big day in Rwanda – presidential elections! Well, in some ways it’s not a particularly exciting day because there are no doubts at all about who the winner will be, but it’s been interesting to be here at the time of the campaign. The atmosphere has been quite festive over the past month, and right now I can hear lots of singing and shouting across the valley. Continue reading “Presidential elections in Rwanda”

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” at the cinema in Kigali

On Sunday, 25th June I had the pleasure to participate in the screening of “The Zookeeper’s Wife”, a Hollywood film with Jessica Chastain in the title role. The event was organised by the Polish Embassy in Nairobi and the Kigali Genocide Memorial. The film tells the story of the owners of the Warsaw Zoo who during World War 2 sheltered many Jews and saved their lives. The screening was preceded by an interesting panel discussion with Ambassador Marek Rohr-Garztecki, Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN in Nairobi, Agnieszka Klonowiecka-Milart, Judge of the UN Tribunal for the Khmer Rouge, and Anita Kayirangwa, responsible for education projects at the Kigali Genocide Memorial. An exhibition entitled “Righteous Without Borders”, prepared by the Warsaw Museum of the History of Polish Jews POLIN, was shown on the screen. Continue reading ““The Zookeeper’s Wife” at the cinema in Kigali”

A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche

Most literary works about Rwanda, both fiction and non-fiction, focus on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. There are very few books which don’t have those atrocities at the centre of their narratives (although I have read a couple: Roz Carr’s memoir and Gaile Parkin’s feel-good novel). However, it’s not at all surprising as these events are still haunting every Rwandan – I don’t think there is one national of this country who was not affected by it. Everyone here lost someone in the 1990s. Canadian journalist and author Gil Courtemanche arrived in Rwanda shortly after the Genocide but in his first novel, first published in Canada in 2000 (the English translation came out in 2003), he managed to recreate the horrible events in such a convincing way that it reads like a very moving memoir.  Continue reading “A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche”