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Shyria – first impressions

'Roughing it' in Rwnda

sunny 27 °C

Kigali is a nice city. We happened to be staying next to the largest market in town. We had great fun choosing fabrics and re-stocking our wardrobes with a second hand pair of trousers and shirt for Rob and some skirts made by a local tailor for Pol. Louise, one of the doctors from the hospital in Shiyra where we will be spending the next few months, happened to be in town on a course. We met up one evening over pizza to learn a bit more about the hospital and the surrounding area and also lightened our load by giving some of our kit to Louise to bring on in the car. Kigali is only two days cycling from Shiyra. Highlights of the journey were the scenery and a refreshing 15km downhill at one point. On the second day the tarmac peetered out once more and we found ourselves bouncing over rocks and stones.


We stopped at a little roadside restaurant in a tiny village to sit out the afternoon rain with some sweet tea and ended up acquiring a passenger. We piled all our bags onto Pol's bike so he could sit on Rob's rack. Chatting with the guy and trying to gauge how much further we had to go on what had already been a long day we were disappointed to hear there was a big hill between us and Shiyra. The deal, as we understood it, was that we were giving him a lift home and in return he would show us the correct road to Shiyra. However, this was not the deal as he understood it. It soon became apparent that he didn't really know the way to Shiyra, and also expected payment for his services! As a result we unceremoniously dumped our new friend by the road and gave Caleb (the Shiyra Dr) a call to find out where the illusive turning was. After few minutes we had found the road, “is it hilly” we asked Caleb “Oh yes” came the reply, “very hilly” our hearts sank “but downhill all the way!!”


The last 17km to the hospital followed a small river on a beautiful track, the only other occupants were on foot or on giant homemade scooters carrying wood, potatoes, bananas, water or banana beer.

These lethal contraptions had been banned by the government a few years ago, due to the huge number of accidents they cause, they have no breaks, indeed the only safety feature is the rider whistling urgently as he flies downhill.


The bridges were pretty interesting! (note the heavily laden scooter behind!)

The last 2km were steep uphill, but almost felt like downhill as the local children gleefully pushed us up!

“Where are you staying?” They asked
“Near Dr Louise and Caleb's house” we replied
“Oh we know Dr Lousie – she is a very nice lady”

We are going to have a nice time here we thought to ourselves.

On our arrival we found 10yr old Caleb Jnr playing on the lawn, no one else was home.

“Any idea where we are staying?” we asked
“Over there” said Caleb
“No, that can't be for us there's only the two of us”
“Oh yes it is!” said Caleb

We were expecting to be roughing it in Rwanda, especially as we had just covered 50km of very rocky road, barely passable by 4x4 to get to Shiyra, but our new little house was fabulous, 2 story, stunning views from the balconies, running (cold) water and electricity 2hrs per day.


Our beautiful home in Shyira.

Soon there was a knock on the door – our first visitor, 6yr old Lydia.
“I've just come over to welcome you and introduce you to our cat Toukie, this is her house, she had move out of ours because our dogs tried to eat her, so you're her guests really. Oh and would you like to come over for Dinner? It's Pizza tonight!”

Oh my goodness, this house even comes with a cat and now they are going to feed us pizza. Life can't get much better!

We went to bed with full stomachs and a good feeling about what the first day at work was going to be like.

Posted by robandpol 10:02

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