Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Rwanda 2013 - The Luxury Tour

With a certain amount of irony, this year's trip to Shyira has been dubbed 'The Luxury Tour'.

Starting in the early hours of Sunday 11th August, the team met up at Amsterdam's Schipol airport, ready for our flight to Kigali.

Very much focussed on working in Shyira Maternity Hospital, the team consisted of Jane, a University Head of Midwifery, Chantelle, a Consultant Midwife, Keran, a hospital midwife, Jane, a neo-natal nurse, and Grace, a student midwife. And me.

Arriving at Kigali in the evening, we were met by Robinah who had arranged some transport for us, and travelled with us into the city centre.

We spent most of Monday with Robinah, changing money in Kigali, visiting the Genocide Museum, and generally acclimatising. We then met up again later for a meal at the Hotel Mille Collines (the hotel in the film 'Hotel Rwanda').

On Tuesday, we were met by Pastor Anthony and Augustin, who transported us to Shyira via Musanze. It was on this journey that 'The Luxury Tour' was coined. The road from Kigali to Musanze used to be littered with pot-holes, but is now well-surfaced for the whole length, apart from a couple of sections damaged by floods in 2012. The road along the valley from Musanze is now level and wide. It used to be dubbed 'an African massage' because of the uneven rocky surface, but is now much flatter. Even the road up the hill to Shyira has been improved. Still un-tarmacced, but wider and smoother than it used to be.

And so we arrived at Shyira. And more luxury is on its way - work is in hand installing an electricity supply. Poles are being erected throughout the village, and cables are being installed. The village will be linked to a hydro-electic supply within a couple of months. The water supply is being upgraded, and new mains are being laid in the village. Everywhere you look, there are signs of activity.

Finally, to the guesthouse, our home for the next ten nights, and the air of luxury continues. We are staying in the house build for the German family, with its high ceilings and bright airy rooms.

Then the luxury bubble bursts - because of the work in the village, there is no water in the house! We have brought bottled water with us to drink, but need to rely on buckets and bowls filled up at the village tap for all our washing and showering. And for flushing the toilet!

Oh well, at least we have arrived safely. And our conditions are better than nearly everyone else in the village