What do you think of when I say Rwanda? Inevitably, you probably think of the terrible genocide that occurred in 1994, but Rwanda has much more to offer now than that mental picture would suggest.
Life is very different in Rwanda today… Rwanda is touted as an example of economic development in sub-saharan Africa recognized for its high percentage of women in government, it’s unique approach in resolving the genocide by combining reconciliation and justice, and the great strides it has made in providing broad access to healthcare. It’s impossible to ignore the success Rwanda has had over the last eighteen years, even despite lingering issues of corruption.
Life Viewed From the Road in Rwanda
I recently came across some great photos taken by Fearghal O’Nuallain in 2010 during his 220km / 137 mi walk across Rwanda, from its eastern border with the Congo to its western border with Tanzania. Here are some of his shots and a couple of quotes from his writings about the journey.
Rwanda has a population density similar to Holland’s — around 100 people per square kilometer — which makes it feel weird as practically everyone in the countryside. This means I don’t get a moment’s space as I travel. Each time I stop to rest or to, ahem, answer the call of nature, people appear out of nowhere shouting “Muzungu, Muzungu!”
Kigali is the halfway point of my journey and seems to be the fault line for Rwanda’s geography too. After Kigali, the landscape also changes remarkably. The temperature rises and the land rolls more gently as the road points east. As the ground underfoot dires out, I slowly see a continent morph from the verdant jungle of central Africa to the rest dust savannah of Eastern Africa.
“Despite its turbulent past, Rwanda is generally a safe place to travel. Although walking around an unfamiliar place – especially one where a school teacher earns $40 a month – with $300 in your pocket and $1,000 worth of camera equipment in your backpack is not without its dangers. But, I’d argue that the dangers in these are the same as those we’d encounter on a city break to Paris or New York. If anything, places where tourists frequent are more dangerous, as they also draw criminals who prey on tourists.”
Clean Water for Rwanda’s Future
Today’s post about Rwanda was inspired by my birthday campaign to raise money for Charity: water. In September, they’re dedicating all of their donations to help Rwanda specifically. Check out their September 2012 Rwanda Campaign.
Rwanda is called the Land of a Thousand Hills which makes access to water especially difficult, and as a result, the technology to provide it so that qualifies as a real, long term solution is complex. Charity: water is up to the task. Watch the trailer below, learn a little about Charity: water and their commitment to solving the water crisis in a transparent, technology based way, and please consider giving a little. Or a lot. Whatever works for you! :) Thanks, afp