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Favorite thing: The trek in to see the gorillas is only a day hike, and for our group it was only 2 hours each way. Depending on where the group of gorillas is that you are going to see, it may be up to 4 hours each way.
We were supposed to not get closer than 15 feet to the gorillas, to protect them from human illnesses. But sometimes they would come right up to us. The little ones especially were curious.
Fondest memory: Seeing these magnificent animals in their natural habitat was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.
Written Sep 25, 2006
Favorite thing: Rwanda especially Kigali caters to the tourist. Gorillas are the big thing but a little reading and research points you in the right direction. It is very easy to circumnavigate the country while on the ground and a pre-booked itinerary is NOT necessary; too late for me BUT not for you guys! For the Gorillas pre-booking IS A MUST but the ORTPN or Rwanda webpage can easily do this for you, book at least 4-6weeks in advance. PRICE U$500 and rising…
Written Jul 6, 2006
Favorite thing: An interview with a head-of-state is always a special thing. To top that, interviewing someone who has had such a crucial role to play in where Rwanda stands today, was even more important for us.
Paul Kagame, the soft spoken- teetotaller president, exudes an image which almost seems to hide his past. A military man for most of his life, he led the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) the Tutsi rebel force which toppled the genocidal Hutu regime and brought an end to the slaughter.
There have, however, been accusations against President Kagame as well... from the French for one, that he was the one who gave the order to shoot down the airplane of the then president Habyalimana, which sparked off the genocide. He has rubbished the allegations and has in turn accused the French of being directly involved in supporting the Hutu extremists during the genocide. This view on France's role, is also shared by a lot of people in Rwanda.
Written May 21, 2005
Favorite thing: At Ntarama, we met Eddie. A Hutu, who had been part of the Interhamwe and one of the killers.
He had been in jail for 9 years, and had been freed recently, by the Gacaca court, and was doing his bit of community service now.
We wanted to interview him on camera and he agreed...
Eddie recounted, in great detail, his experiences during the killings and his own actions. Pretty brutal and spine chilling stuff...
He described how he had hated the Tutsis, how he killed his neighbours wife, and how he and his fellow Hutus used to compete in killing Tutsis. The fewer the blows needed to kill, the more committed you were to the cause. Heavier clubs with nails were therefore the prefered weapon of choice. He killed 16 Tutsis that he could remember out of which 3 or 4 he killed single handedly.
Today Eddie walks free, though he says its with a heavy conscience. The Gacaca courts had set him free and the husband of his neighbour that he'd killed, had forgiven him too...
Updated May 1, 2005
Favorite thing: Before setting off for Rwanda, i reccomend that you try and watch a couple of films... One is a documentary, `Ghosts of Rwanda' (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/ghosts/). Its a very powerful documentary which goes into great detail of the events that led to the killings and has used a lot of actual footage which can be pretty chilling to watch...
The other, is the film `Hotel Rwanda' (http://www.mgm.com/ua/hotelrwanda/).
An award winning film, based on a true story, about the heroic actions a hotel manager, who risked his life to save over a thousand Tutsis and Hutus during the massacre.
The hotel where the film/ incident is set is the Mille Collines in downtown Kigali. (http://www.millecollines.net/indexb.html)
Updated Apr 22, 2005
Favorite thing: Kigali's central prison or Gikondo Prison, built in the 1930's, was only meant to house a few thousand inmates.
After the genocide, the numbers swelled to well above 50,000. Most of the inmates are accused of savage acts of genocide and refered to as genocidaires. They wait here for their trails to come up before the Gacaca courts.
The bright pink dresses mark out the prisoners. Every afternoon, there are some who get to step out and meet waiting members of their families outside. As soon as times is up for one lot, the next one is brought out.
The time we were shooting there, we were told that no pictures could be taken. Definately none from the outside (the one here has been snapped by hiding my camera behind my producers back).
We were there to shoot the prison fellowships activities inside the prison.
Written Jan 17, 2005
Favorite thing: I forget her name... But hers was a typically sordid tale among many of the survivors. Perhaps hers was a little worse than the others though.
After seeing every single member of her family being butchered at the hands of the attackers, she spent three months in captivity, held by the Hutu 'interhamwe' militia. She was regularly assaulted and raped thru that time.
At the end of the ordeal, when she was eventually free, she realised that she was pregnant. Also, she was suspected of being HIV positive. She eventually bore a son, the only family she has now. The child to her, was also a cruel reminder of the terrible events from the past. She loved him and hated him... Admitted that she sometimes vents her angusih on the child, who had just turned ten.
Updated Jan 14, 2005
Favorite thing: Things weren't exactly what I planned when I was there so I was trying to get a plane ticket out of there. This is the place that offers you the cheapest price. They don't really care much about customers...perhaps because of the fact that they have loads of them. But if you want a good price, bare with them.
It's at Ave du Commerce, opposite site of Western Union. It's on the second floor.
Tel 573079 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Written Dec 12, 2004
Favorite thing: My cellphone didn't work there so the only trust-worthy place to make an international call is at the post office.
A postcard can be sent for RFr150(I only sent a bunch to Europe and Asia so I don't know if the price is also the same for other parts of the world or not).
Open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays and 8am to 12pm on Sat.
Cross the street from ORTPN, walk pass Shell gas station.
Written Dec 12, 2004
Favorite thing: A city tour operated by ORTPN. It takes 4 hours and $20 each. There're 2 tours, one from 8am to 12pm and 2pm to 6pm. It said minimum 4 persons on its brochure but it was only me and my friend on that tour. The bus was nice too. I'll edit this trip later with all places they took us to.
This tourist office is just around the corner from the post office.
Written Dec 11, 2004
Mountain Gorilla View Lodge Ruhengeri
1 Review and 114 Opinions The hotel has beautiful views of the park, and is close to the start point for the mountain gorilla...
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