Rwanda is truly the place to be in Africa right now. If the swarms of Muzungus (white foreigners) in their 20s crawling all over Kigali didn’t mean something, than maybe the brand new fiber optic cables running across the country (including the electricity-less rural villages in the jungle) that connect Rwanda to the rest of the world via internet do.
Although Rwanda is clearly the trendy place to be, AIDS studies and post-grad research on the genocide are overwhelmingly the most common reason to be here, it truly is advancing at an admirable rate.
Although they remain nameless (in practice at least, Google Earth will provide a name. Its just that locals don’t know it and don’t use it), all main roads in Kigali are paved. Side roads of importance are cobblestone and roads from Kigali to other main cities both in Rwanda and surrounding countries are paved and frequently travelled by several forms of public transportation.
Moto drivers are required by law to carry helmets for their passengers to enforce safety. My intersection recently built a stoplight, and it is now fully functioning and obeyed (which is key, as anyone who has driven in Cairo would know). And this weekend, it seemed like all public employees were out in force painting safety lines on the roads and the curbs.
The city is also eerily clean. Cleaner even than some streets in the United States. In fact, plastic bags were outlawed. I was required to turn over all shopping bags that I was carrying at customs when I came in.
Sure I get around by asking to go to major landmarks and then walking from there, but I still wear business attire to work. Sure I might be in the middle of Africa as shown on a map, but Kigali is tied with the United States for ninth best place to start a business. And a cup of coffee does in fact cost me $3.00 and up.
Rwanda refuses to be stuck in its past. Proving that really the best way to recover from serious trauma is to move forward. And not just to keep on swimming, but to actually buy yourself a motor boat and move the heck out of where you were into a better place.