Guys, I am lost for words! This little adventure was simply magic…
The plan was:
– Do not do a surf trip (for once!)
– Meet my sister in Kigali, get a basic push bike and…
– Start pedaling! We would have 5 days to go the entire length of the country, from north to south, along the Congo Nile Trail (it’s a pretty small country!)
What actually happened:
Well, exactly that! And it was possibly the best trip I have ever done. I know, unbelievable considering there was no surf… but Rwandans are simply the most caring and honest citizens of the this planet, I honestly believe, and humanity trumps surfing any day!
I do tend to get a little enthusiastic when I first get back from a new country, but when I tell you that on the second day I counted 48 villagers running down from the hills around me to help find my camera which fell off my bike along the way, I realize I don’t actually think I’m exaggerating this time! After looking for the camera for two hours, I had to try to convince them to give up as I had to keep riding. 7 hours later, an SMS: the villagers had found it! Another local overhearing our conversation took no time to jump on a scooter at dusk and drive 5 hours to retrieve it for me. She got back at midnight with the camera, as well as all the cash that was still in the camera bag!
Rwanda definitely deserves its title of the Country of a Thousands Hills, which made the cycling a little physical: we climbed up to 6 hours a day, mostly with views of Lake Kivu and the Republic of Congo across it! Another interesting point that blew my mind about this country: somehow, rubbish does not exist. There is simply none. Anywhere. It is in fact illegal to come through customs with plastic bags!
The history of Rwanda is obviously extremely unusual and incredibly sad to say the least; the way it’s population has recovered from its dark past is hard to comprehend. It almost seems to be a miracle. I won’t go into it here, but I can recommend an excellent book called “A People Betrayed” by Linda Melvern…
What I will say is this: Go to Rwanda, and ride your bike there. There will be more people cheering you along the way than if you were competing in the Tour de France.
A huge thank you to the whole Kamasa family for…everything, to Ladouce for retrieving my camera and showing me around Kigali, and to my sister Tot for being crazy!