The First thing I must tell you is that I feel at home here. It doesn’t feel like we are out of Nigeria. This place feels like my Jos. The view from the car is always like I am looking at my Jenta. I could see my fathers house with his red zinc.
Of course, this is beautiful. The homely feeling does not eliminate its beauty.
While passing through Kigali today, one of the first things we noticed was the unproportionate number of foreigners. I know there are foreigners in every capital, but for Rwanda, the number is high. Unusually high. But this is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a good thing. It is an indicator of something else. Rwanda is a place that invites the whole world. I always thought that their airport would be bigger than it is, the legend of RwandAir is well known and the stories from tech founders to presidents who rate Rwanda highly would make you think that this country is big. Actually, it is not. It has 13 million people. It would interest you to know that Rwanda has just 26,798 km². Plateau State is bigger than the whole of Rwanda, Plateau State has 30,913 km². Yet, it is receiving a disproportionate amount of skilled people. Startups are building bases here.
To get how the country really works, all you need to do is pay attention to the people in power. While we were moving in town today, the first lady was moving out. We had to stop for her to move, I was surprised by this, but I was surprised by something more serious, she had just 2 cars in her convoy, and one for her making 3 cars. The First Lady of Rwanda was moving but she had just 3 cars! Are you kidding me? We are surely joking. She doesn’t know how to do her work. She needs to learn. A convoy is not serious thing, it does not affect GDP or remove people from poverty, but a simple thing as a convoy tells you the mindset of the people. It tells how they envision the kind of society they want.
As we stood around one area where stones were used to build an area that we suspected was built to stop irrigation, Peter mentioned that this structure is apparently a visionary one and had to be completed on time if not it would not have achieved its objective, water would have washed it away. The only difference between Jos and Kigali is that after the geno.cide, their leader decided that the future of the country must be different. He laid down a vision for his people and they followed. While Jos has faced its fair share of crisis, we haven’t seen the vision. While Jos has all the perfect scenery to attract the whole world, only very few brave citizens dare to visit. It is a red flag zone that even former sons of Plateau are scared of visiting. It has a national stigma of violence. Sorry, international. I told the driver who drove us today that they have done well for their country and they should be proud of it. He turned back and said “Yes, but we need to do more. The way I see it, we need countries like Nigeria, South Africa, and Congo to rise. If these three rise, all of Africa will follow suit”. He is a man who has travelled to nearly half the countries in the continent, he was speaking with pain and hope. When are we going to rise and inspire this whole continent?
PS: Rwanda is not an El Dorado yet, it has a lot of work it needs to do, but it has done more than all its peers in the continent, it deserves its flowers.
Some scenes of Kigali.