The group arrived at different times and on various days. Yufei and Yi traveled by way of Istanbul, stopping with other GMBAs to explore Roman ruins and Islamic mosques at the intersection of the East and West. Todd, Dan and others in Rwanda followed their noses through the streets of Kigali and stumbled into watching Rwandan university students play basketball. They also explored the local bar scene. I myself went with two other GMBAs to do what was unexpectedly the most difficult hike of our lives thus far. We went up a volcano, stepping over gorilla droppings, surrounded by armed guards and fellow travelers who seemed to have stories of people and things from everywhere.
Here are some pictures from team Ikirezi Ops’ adventures:
The first official day of the trip included a bus tour directed by Yvone (Ivan, in English). We drove around the city, stopping at important sites. Yvone told au all about the neighborhoods, cultures, and more. We ate lunch at Hotel Mille Colline, the hotel made famous by the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, starring Don Cheadle. It definitely looked different than the movie. The hotel was much more downtown than I had expected, but the poolside area was very much as pleasant as in the movie.
Finally, we ended our day tour after lunch at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Museum. Throughout the day, we learned the history and the horrors of the ethnic strife that led to the massive genocide in 1994. Yvone, who is from nearby Burundi, was very open in his feelings about ethnic divides, what has happened in Rwanda, and how impressive some of the country’s reforms have been. The group was moved, and topics came up time and time again over the course of the evening.
Here are some pictures from the city tour: