One of them was getting a year older and we had planned to throw her a party at a destination in Asia. The dates, however, coincided with an important East African Institute of Architects event in Kigali which I did not want to miss. I convinced them and we changed the venue.
A major highlight of the trip was a visit to the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre. This centre commemorates the 1994 Rwandan Genocide and is also the final resting place for more than 250,000 victims of the genocide. Before this visit, the only information on the genocide I had was from the book ‘Shake Hands with the Devil’ by Romeo Dallaire and watching the movie ‘Hotel Rwanda’ and other documentaries and news reports on the same.
The memorial was, however, a different story altogether. We were taken through an emotional tour of the 100 darkest days of Rwanda that saw the mass slaughter of about 1 Million Tutsis, Twas, and moderate Hutus by solders, police and militias that supported the Hutu regime. The tour consists of a mix of audio and video exhibits, photographs, skulls, and bones from victims, weapons used in the massacre among many other items.
You see the photos of the dead, families wiped out, children who had a whole lifetime ahead of them. You get to see actual footage of the events and hear real accounts of the hate, the betrayal, the rape, the murder. You cry. And Pray and hope that such never recurs, not in your country or any other country in the world.
That aside though, our stay in Kigali was fabulous. Great hospitality from Kigali Serena where we boarded. They made my sister a complimentary birthday cake, gave us a bottle of champagne, and made our stay really comfortable. We did not get time to visit Lake Kivu like anyone would expect visitors to Rwanda to do.
We sampled the Kigali nightlife fairly well. We spent time at a selection of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs where we had our meals, drinks, and danced the nights away. The ones that stood out are the Cadillac Night Club and Pili Pili Bar and Restaurant. Another one was Carwash which was Kenyan owned and had some delicious Nyama Choma.
This is one place I would recommend to anyone anytime.