Kigali: On A First Arrival To Africa

kigali at night
kigali at night / source

Kigali is a city of hills and valleys. The land is green and lush with tall blades of grass, trees whose fruits I have eaten, but never seen. Paved roads settle in between the living things, almost like topographical lines. The road rises along the hills, then drops lazily down, then turns again. The sky throws itself high above the hills, black and flecked with stars at night, then turns into a blue, sunlit veil of an atmosphere during the day, so that you squint at the bright distant hills but never manage to clearly make them out.

I landed in Kigali at 1245 am, at a small, glossy airport that proclaimed itself as international and was decorated with all the gloss, color, and style of zebra skins. I stepped out past the baggage carousels and into the night with Jean Paul, the driver who had been waiting in a patient frantic for my gently tardy plane. I saw the stars and the green and the dark night and thought, so this is Africa, this is Rwanda. My first introduction to the continent, and to the country, and a most fortuitous introduction indeed.

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