The last time I really took a close look to Kigali was back in 2011. Fresh out of high school, ready to experience what “outsiders” called real life – Running day and night searching for jobs. And if you already have one, mornings consisted of making sure you get to work before the rush hour, or simply get stuck to your desk all day long, and get stuck in chores at night. I haven’t said anything about deadlines; or the upcoming transition (which might “shorten” the number of employees). Quite worrisome and stressing today’s economy, isn’t it?
That’s the picture we assumed the world looked like. Somehow it’s wrong, unless you are stuck in a job you don’t like. The world is quite different once you get your head outside those four walls of school.
So, Kigali, right?
It has been undergoing major changes since the introduction of the term “Vision 2020”. It seemed far fetched at the time but it’s real (like really real). The place I used to take the bus to school was quite questionable (I have no other term for that) back then; but now it houses one of the tallest buildings of the city (KCT). It’s like a big mall; with a movie theater in it (how cool is that?)
And I remember I used to road-shop near “Kwa Rubangura” but seriously that place looks clean now. And you wonder where all the business went? Everything got moved into assigned buildings according to the city mapped plan. All this in order to take steps regarding transforming Rwanda from a really underdeveloped country to, as they say, the next “Singapore” of Africa.
I don’t like the comparison though. The standard should be to do better than Singapore, not be like them. I’m quite confident we can get there, seeing how far we came, there is no doubt where we’ll be stepping next.
Three years later, 2014. I come back again from the four closed walls of University, to take a closer look and actively participate in and for my country. Let me tell you this; frankly I got lost.
Lots of buildings in town vanished, new ones are coming up. There are lots of investments pouring in the country apparently, and people seem more eager to work than before. More banks, revolutionary transportation all around (though I think they should set a limit to how many people can go in those big buses), fashion trends everywhere you go (some of them no-comments but others furiously good), innovations and lots of young people coming up with creations; small businesses booming.
I haven’t talked about the nightlife yet. At night in some parts, it’s as lively as in the morning. Pretty soon, we’ll start getting the name “the city that never sleeps”. And if you don’t know what is up, I advise you to visit websites like Living in Kigali (they have got everything there).
And security, it’s all year long. Whether it’s 2 pm or 2 am, you can waltz in the streets. But no need to tempt the devil, just take care. No matter how many policemen stroll around, it’s better to stay safe.
lots has changed, I can’t sum it up in just one article. By the time I’m done with this, I’m pretty sure they just build a new water fountain downtown. Just kidding, but seriously though, it’s incredible to see changes like these.
I still have to visit other parts of the country (Next trip, trekking in the mountains to see the gorillas – our versions of King Kong but this are real not out of a movie).
I haven’t even seen the full Kigali. But surely, it’s a city worth putting on everybody’s bucket list.
So, when are you coming ?
P.S: I do not have any legal ownership over pictures present in this article.