Monday after work I met up with Andrea, who runs Carleton University's Rwanda Initiative. It’s a program designed to teach journalism students in Rwanda, allowing for exchanges and visiting lecturers. I was interested partly because it is very similar to CASIEF. One could argue that a free and effective press and safe surgery are both fundamentals of a civilized society. Also my son is a journalism student at Carleton.
We met in the Serena Hotel, which has about the nicest lobby of any hotel I've seen, complete with a baby grand piano. We went out onto the mezzanine above the pool and had drinks overlooking a fantastic pool with multiple water features.
After I had pumped her for career advice for my son, compared notes on our experiences dealing with Rwandans, and made tentative plans for the next crop of exchange students to write up the CASIEF project, Greg arrived. He'd been doing research for his presentation at an internet café.
Andrea suggested we adjourn to an Italian restaurant in Remera (which turns out to be miles away) for Pizza and Quiz night with some Canadian Ex-pats. The restaurant, O Sole Luna, was beautiful, with views of the lights of Kigali. The evening was cool and mild. The pizza menu was extensive. I had the Kibuye with Tilapia, Onions and Tomatoes, which was a bit overly adventurous. Fish pizzas are rare for a reason! The gang was very pleasant and cosmopolitan. One came from LA, and another was from Delhi on a contract to teach English. Some ran businesses, others worked for NGOs. The 25 quiz questions covered everything from Rwandan development to Ms Piggy's cleavage to fashions in shoes to the weight of body organs. We got a respectable 9 out of 25 which put us in the top half, and we would have done better if someone had not persuaded me that Kigali was at a higher altitude that La Pas!
At the end of the evening Andrea used her Kinyarwanda skills to negotiate a good rate in a taxi for us. The group was very impressed that we are living in Nyamirambo. Apparently it’s a trendy real neighbourhood, a sort of "Queen Street West" of Kigali.