(I've changed the name from "Rants" given that I can't really rant about many things that frustrate me here, at least not without getting into some sort of trouble. As such, you'll have to wait for the book.)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Road Trip - Rwanda



We just returned from Kigali. I was going there for my regular visit and we decided to go with the whole family this time. Kiran had a week off from her school so the timing was convenient. This obviously meant going by vehicle, something I’d never done during my near-monthly trips to Rwanda over the past three and a half years. 

It’s always an ambitious adventure to do stuff like this with two small children. Though they’re pretty good kids, being contained in a vehicle for several hours is tough. It has advantages and disadvantages when compared to air travel. Though you can stop and get out when you want to, you don’t have the space or ability to walk around like you do on the plane. You also don’t have a loo where you can change the occasional nappy. 

We left on Monday I stopped in the office to sign a few things. We had a driver, partially since I was not interested in wearing myself out any more than I had to and partially so that I could do work along the way. I have to say, it paid off since I ended up doing loads of emails and reviewing some documents while on the road. I have a system for working in a vehicle without getting car sick that I have perfected over the years. It involves watching the road a lot and avoiding certain tasks altogether. And of course stopping altogether when you feel like you're going to puke. It’s obviously not as effective as working in an office but it’s not bad.

Kinaya started off the entertainment by a long stretch of crying during the first hour. She's not a big fan of the car seat. The two girls have seats and Priya was wedged between them – tending to one, then the other, sometimes both at the same time. Our nanny, poor thing, wasn't much help. She was in the very back and has never traveled much. She’d only been to the interior of Burundi once in her life and never outside her postage stamp-sized country. This would be her first time and it was a big deal for her. Unfortunately she became quite car sick within the first couple hours. Not the way you want to start your biggest trip ever. Happily she made the return trip without sickness.

We spent about an hour at the border crossing. It’s annoying and longer than it should be. The Rwandan police rifled through the luggage looking for the forbidden plastic bags (I do love that about Rwanda - no plastic bags), unlike crossing into Burundi where they check for weapons or, as was the case upon our return, nothing at all. 

We arrived in Kigali rather weary and ready to get out of the Land Cruiser. We bid our hellos to the team in the office and made our way to the guesthouse. The next four days would be spent with Priya and the nanny hanging out with the kids, shopping, etc. while I worked. We were able to get away for a couple of nice dinners but that’s about it. For me it was good to have the family with me during a week which ordinarily would have found me separated from them and working not only days but evenings. 

the two families
On Wednesday we were able to sneak in a quick jog in the neighborhood and when we were off to a friend and former colleague’s house, Eustache. He’s a very cool guy and I miss hanging out with him. We were together in Dar back in the day. At that time he had two tiny kids and we had none. Now we have the tiny kids. 

I've traveled a considerable amount in my life and most of it was without kids. Though they're awful cute when you get to your destination, they can be a handful along the way. I can even remember being a nightmare myself (needing to pee within a few minutes of starting, periodically asking when we're going to get there, etc. etc.).  Oh well, it's what we signed up for. And we're just getting started. 
ok, they can be cute along the way as well