This morning Margaret and I set off for King Faisal Hospital, another hospital associated with the University of Rwanda Anesthesia Residency Program. We left before 7, with the plan to arrive around 7:15. However…traffic had other plans.
This week, Kigali is hosting 22 heads of state of African nations at the African Union meetings. This has the city in chaos! On Monday, we were offered a drive to the CHUK fro our neighbour only to discover that all the roads leading to CHUK from our apartment were blocked to cars! This was largely because the presidential residence is on our walk to CHUK and the security was tight! After driving around for 30 minutes we got out and walked. It was a lovely walk as…no cars!!! But many police with very large weapons.
Today we set out in a taxi to get to King Faisal, which is located beyond our walking distance, and….all roads leading to King Faisal are closed to cars! Apparently, today’s meetings were located in the convention centre which is close to King Faisal Hospital! Traffic was insane and finally, we asked the taxi to let us out and….we walked. Again, lovely walk..no cars. We arrived after 9am – 2 hours after we left home. Fortunately, the OR case had not started yet as the surgeon was also caught in the traffic jam!
It is fascinating that in the name of security, the traffic police will close off roads and routes completely – leaving no apparent alternate routes!
After work, we went to pay for our gorilla trekking permits (which took 2 long hours as the government website was taking its time). Then our guide, Emmy, tried to drive us home. It should have been about a 15 minute drive and again…over 1 hour in the hustle and bustle of motor vehicle traffic and foot traffic…I tried to take in the sites and sounds of Kigali…but I will admit I was tired. It was a long day of driving, walking, bargaining with taxis, waiting, and that doesn’t even include the work day.
Finally, we were home. We heard a beeping and realized we were out of electricity. As we left to go pay for more, the young man who is the property care taker started running after us and yelling. He is a very nice young man, who only speaks Kinyarwandan. After trying to make him understand we knew we needed more electricity (the reason he was running after us) we set off to the supermarket to buy some more and perhaps some Kenyan whiskey as well.
We finished the evening with a supper of chips and guacamole (amazing avocados here) and perhaps some adult beverages. All is well.