Sunday, June 28, 2009

Driving in Kigali

I have had the car for five weeks and driving in Kigali continues to be a challenge for a number of reasons:

• No Maps
• No Street Names
• No House Numbers
• Speed bumps everywhere
• 100’s of Motos (scooters that carry people and things)
• People always walking in the roads (major problem at night)
• No Street lights
• Very few traffic lights and several congested roundabouts

When someone gives directions they may use local names of streets or roads that a newcomer has no idea where they are. They also say things like “travel about 1 km until you see a utility pole and dirt road”…well there are hundreds of those and nothing to distinguish them. I am ok on the main roads and have even found a few shortcuts on the dirt or brick roads to save time and speed bumps but not having a 4-wheel drive makes those roads difficult to traverse.

I was invited to dinner and left when it was still light so I could follow the directions I wrote down. After three phone calls, my host had to come and pick me up at a gas station (asking someone to talk to him on the phone to tell him which Kobil station I was at, was also a great experience). Dinner was an hour late but everyone took it in stride. I am sorry to say I got lost driving home that night as well.

The photos are of a few interesting sights I have seen on the roads of Kigali: a truck full of live chickens hanging by their feet and a man on his bike with a 20 gallon milk container hitching a ride up a hill.

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