Sunday, 27 May 2007

Final observations from Rwanda

MK: Now that I have left, I thought I would share with you my final observations about Rwanda that might not necessarily be evident to an short-term guest or else found in Lonely Planet!
  1. Rwandans LOVE to give long speeches. I am not exaggerating or talking about 10 minutes. I mean hours!
  2. Rwandans - like their Ugandan counterparts - switch "l" with "r" and vice versa. So, in Rwanda, I am known as "Merani". When John came to visit me at UNDP he informed them that he was "son mari" but what they understood was "somali".
  3. Rwanda has the highest percentage of females in parliament in the world.
  4. Plastic bags are illegal and you can get fined for carrying one.
  5. Rwanda is a small village. Everyone is linked and everyone knows everyone. So watch what you say and do!
  6. Rwandans have bad cell phone manners. This is made official when the President bans all cell phones at any event he is at (cameras are allowed). When a cell phone rings in a meeting, it is usually followed by the person bending down, covering their mouth and speaking which actually amplifies their voice!
  7. Women and children feel the need to pull my hair out of its roots. Then when I turn around they act like they have no idea what just happened!
  8. Finally, while walking by some less well groomed locals with a stench that turned my stomach in a million ways, I realised I must have extraordinary olfactory glands.

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