|We arrived in Kigali, Rwanda at comfortable time of day (as opposed to the 3am arrival last year). Pierre, our cab driver, met us at the gate and took us straight to Moucecore Mission, where we paid $18/night to use one of the center’s guest rooms. Accommodations were less than meager by US standards, but the bathrooms were right next to our room and they had a shower (no hot water) and flush-able toilets – things you learn to do without in that part of the world.
Pierre was back at 6am the next day to take us to Giseyngi, the border town on the Rwanda side of Goma, our final destination city.
We had to leave bright and early at 5am in order to get to Gisengi, D.R.Congo by 7am. Turns out that the entire country of Rwanda stops the locals from doing all non-essential activity on the last Saturday of each month in order to do public work. It’s hard to appreciate the countryside in the dark, but the alternative was to wait till 11am doing nothing and arrive at 1pm, having wasted most of the morning.
We called Tom and Kathy when we got to Giseyngi, and they weren’t expecting us that soon, and since they no transportation of their own, they had to find a ride to get to us at the border. While waiting, we took time to eat a breakfast at the ‘ritzy’ Gorilla Hotel, and treated Pierre to one of their $7 buffet breakfasts. Maybe it was just my impression, but he seemed like a fish out of water, unaccustomed to the fine dining. We paid him his $100 taxi fee and then spent the next hour or so at the border waiting for Kathy and Renee to show up with a friend of theirs. Turns out that they ran into a good friend of theirs that used to live in Bukavu, but recently moved to Goma. The number of ‘coincidences’ on the trip were truly amazing. Makes the ‘accidents’ so easy to take in stride.