Driving for 8 hours in the Akagera national park was a journey. Miles of wilderness keep you breathless. From hills, down to valleys unveiling big and small lakes giving off to mountains, all in a picturesque assemblage. Crocodiles, baboons, buffalos, giraffes, impalas, zebras make it lively. It is not a zoo it is “something” of another dimension. At the lodge where we spend the night, the view from up top is just phenomenal [see photo]. On our way to the top, the two largest huts nearing each other looked from far like a giant pair of boobs according to Emmy, our driver. I think that after 8 hours of driving in the heat, even the most adept of the guides will succumb to mirages. It reminded me of St Exupery’s book, “Terres des hommes”, his story happened in the Sahara while working for the aeropostale delivering mail to North Africa. Spending much time in the desert after his plane crashed, his senses started to trump him while the effects of dehydration made him see oases where there was none. The road back to Kigali was less arduous than going through the park where at times your guts made it up and down again and again. We stopped by some road market, bought veggies and papaya [this one was succulent]. The Juvenal [former president] palace was well conserved since 1994 following his plane crash in his backyard. There are still remains of the plane for the visitors to see. For my self I made sure I got out with some presidential avocados [see picture below]. There was something special about them, it is not everyday that you have presidential avocados. Then came the genocide memorial [photo], atrocious and wicked. In this memorial lay the bodies of 250000 Kigalis [children, women and men] the killing lasted 100 days, which comes to 2500 death per day in Kigali only. Now you add the 500000 to 750000 throughout the country and your mind freezes. Literally!! It freezes; you cannot fathom the reality.
Monday, back to teaching, it is academic day…on Tuesday I met Dr Jean Bosco. Jean is a family practionner who practices surgery on some of his patients. It happened that Jean did his medicine in Algeria followed by a residency in Belgium. So we had a long discussion about Algeria, his experiences and talked about the good and bad times. We talked about the assassination of the president; the bombing of the Algiers airport and his goal to return to Algeria. When we approached the matter of genocide he had that sigh in his face, sadness!!! He told me that he has 50 orphans all members of his family. A young talent, Fidele, walked in and joins the discussion. He also did his medical school in Algeria and now is applying for a residency in neurosurgery. While doing his clinical rotations, his attending happened to be my sister in law who is a practicing oncologist in Algeria. Small world, huh!!!!. Albert and I are getting ready for the gorillas!!!!!