Friday, May 28, 2010

Site Visits

This week, I was able to visit a couple of health clinics around Kigali. It's a mixture of sadness at the level of healthcare available, yet I am in awe of what can be accomplished in the most basic of conditions.

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The facilities are packed full of people starting in the early morning hours. They all wait patiently, moving from one holding area to the next.

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In the back of the clinic, the monotony of the passing day gets on the nerves of the babies as they cry and squirm. They are here waiting for medicine to prevent the transmission of HIV from their mothers.

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Thursday, May 27, 2010


Rwanda is called the land of a thousand hills, and this picture really is a testament to the beauty found here.

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It was taken on the terrace of a nearby hotel, Select, where I was enjoying lunch from a really good Belgian chef. Sorry, I was so hungry that I forgot to take pictures of my meal: beef carpaccio salad, goat cheese on a baguette, tilapia in a white wine sauce, and passion fruit ice cream. It was pretty much awesome.


On another recent eating foray, I went to Heaven restaurant in town with work colleagues. It's run by Americans, so the service here is fantastic...unlike Rwandan standards, where you would be lucky to get your food within 45 mins after ordering. But the best aspect of the restaurant is its location, perched on top of a hill and overlooking city lights (few that there may be). On nights without any clouds, you can look up and see numerous satellites orbiting the earth's equator. They zoom across the sky, unmanned rockets that hold up our pathways of communication.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

Peace Marathon

The 6th annual International Peace Marathon occurred this past weekend. I joined a group from the US embassy that did the 5K, there was another group that ran the relay marathon. It took place at the Amahoro stadium and was a hour late to start, due to the complete disorganization of the event. We were moved back and forth to different starting locations, no communication to the runners, and no water available on the course as promised. You would think that after 5 years, they would have figured out the basics...but it was definitely a fun event.

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It was amazing to see the marathon runners, they were so fast! Most had finished a quarter of their 26.2 miles by the time we finished up our 5K. Here's our group before the race:

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There was a group of runners that ran and sang the whole way was quite a sight and so motivating.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Food Fair

I went to a food fair on Saturday, hosted by all the embassies in Kigali. There were tons of people celebrating at the South African residence and lots of great food from around the world.

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It's funny that the first thing to run out was the sushi from the Japanese embassy, everyone kept saying that they miss sushi the most while living in Africa. Makes me wonder where they got the fresh salmon for this festival since we are in a land locked country?

Here's me and Kathy posing with the 2010 FIFA mascot...can't wait to watch the world cup this summer!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010


There's a great art gallery near my apartment, called Ivuka, featuring local Rwandan and Ugandan artists. The space is pretty cool; it's perched on a hill overlooking the one and only golf course in Kigali. There are some artists that live/work in the back studios and some of the gallery's proceeds help support local neighborhood children.

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There's an artist that I really like, J. Juuko, here are some of his pieces:

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I ended up buying one from him along with another artist. There's a lot of texture in these paintings that's probably hard to see:

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Here are some of the local children hanging around the art gallery:

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Needed: Avocado Recipes

Went to market this past weekend...though not the local market because I've been told it's too crazy and I need a local to go with me the first time. This place is open 24 hours and is located inside a tiny "mall." It mainly caters to the ex-pat crowd, but offers almost everything you may want. Prices for local food items are ok, but if you want the familiar brands, then you'll be paying an hefty price. Nutella sells for $11 compared to $3 state side.

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I wanted to try the local peanut butter and strawberry jam, which was a huge disappointment! The peanut butter was too oily and the jam had an acrid, fake-sugary taste. What has been good are the eggs and vegetables. Here's my first attempt to cook an omelet in my little kitchen.

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What's really amazing is that my street is lined with avocado trees! I see kids climbing for the fruit as I walk to work each morning. Here's the front of my apartment and the gorgeous avocados tempting me. My only wish is that I can find condensed milk.

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

On the Hunt

I finally have internet again! Supposedly a bird had knocked out the cable from the roof...this is actually a plausible reason. I have been amazed with the variety and amount of birds I have seen around Kigali. I need to try and take pictures of them, but there is a huge black and white crow that wakes you up with it's loud cawing at 5am. I've also seen swarms (as in hundreds) of hawks circling areas around the city, makes you wonder what they're preying on.

Anyway, I wanted to share my first fun/fashion-related purchase. I met a girl who runs women cooperatives around Rwanda and helps them develop crafts to sell for fair prices. She recently got an huge order from Ralph Lauren (link to story)to make these leaf bracelets (they come in different colors, depending on which part of the banana leaf is stripped):

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I got them at a fraction of the price I'm sure they will be selling for at RL stores!


I'm also on the hunt for interesting buffalo horn jewelry. I had seen this site: and love her pieces! I'm hoping that I can find similar designs around Kigali at the craft markets. Aren't they beautiful?

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Thursday, May 6, 2010

3rd place

Met some new people and went to trivia night at Sol e Luna restaurant. We really thought we had a chance at 1st place, unfortunately we didn't know all the Sean Connery Bond movies and I missed the Fleming/Salk's always the other guy isn't it?

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Had an amazing eggplant and sausage pizza! Found out that pizza is the most popular food item in Kigali. You'll find it on the menu at every restaurant...from high-end to Chinese places. :)

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kigali, Rwanda

After 23 hours of traveling and not losing any luggage...I made it to Rwanda! It's a beautiful, lush area with lots of hills and moderate temperature. I keep forgetting to take pictures, but I will have to try harder. Here's a start...


My apartment at Prima 2000

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The most used appliance is the have to boil water here.


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There's a TV in the bottom left corner...but with only 7 channels and 4 of them are in English.


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The windows are always left open because there is no A/C and it gets really stuffy, but it also means I sometimes get lizards in the house. :)


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Here's the view from my balcony:

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