Rwanda: Remembering Why We Travel
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Everyone travels differently and travels for different reasons. Some people need time to relax when others need to feel their hearts racing and beating in their throats. Yet, no matter the traveler, you know that a place had an impression on someone when he or she comes back and can’t stop talking about the people they met.
I find it fascinating how, despite differences, we are able to relate to people all over the world, find a strength in others that we find admirable and inspirational. I felt that kind of sentiment when reading this recent article about traveling in Rwanda in the Financial Times.
Most people are aware of the country’s recent past, and perhaps for this reason travelers would rather choose Kenya or Tanzania. Nevertheless, Rwanda is experiencing an increase in interest. Deservedly so, and not because travelers should acquaint themselves with the nation’s past, but to appreciate and enjoy the land and people of the present. As the author explains:
This, after all, is a country that can bring you within touching distance of the endangered mountain gorilla and offer breathtaking vistas across the misty, oceanic expanse of Lake Kivu. Nyungwe, Africa’s largest mountainous rainforest, teems with 250 bird and 13 primate species while, to the east, visitors can spot lions, leopards, elephants and giraffes in Akagera National Park.
Just outside Kigali’s city-center is the area Nyamirambo, a historic trading post that is now filled with community projects such as coffee collectives and a refugee camp. There, in the neighborhood, is where the author found kids laughing and an old woman wanting her picture taken.
Suddenly, the article tugged a heart string when the author reminsces,
Instead what lingers in the memory is the pride of Nyamirambo’s residents, the way a stern face cracks into a smile or a stranger welcomes you into their home. This is how we scratch beneath the surface of Rwanda: not through its landscape but through the dignity and warmth of its people.
All I can think is: This is why we travel.
By Brit Weaver
About the Author
Toronto born and based, Brit is an avid leisure cyclist, coffee drinker and under-a-tree park-ist. She often finds herself meandering foreign cities looking for street eats to nibble, trees to climb, a patch of grass to sit on, or a small bookstore to sift through. You can find her musing life on her personal blog, TheBubblesAreDead.wordpress.com.