Ian: On arrival to Kigali airport our first impression was one of darkness! We could not see many lights or cars on the ground coming in on the plane. It was strange to see only our plane and one other on the ground at Kigali International Airport. It was a lovely feeling walking across the tarmac at the airport, followed by a hugely warm welcome at the Airport. Rwandan’s are genuinely excited and clearly appreciative of the fact that you’re visiting their country. A beautiful warm evening, although some of the locals who were there to meet us were complaining of the cold! Suits (and ties) abound.
What a presence Nicholas (and Louis) have. It’s a quiet presence though. They don’t need to talk to make an impression on folk. Our first impressions are similar to what I’d expected. There were a lot of people milling around. Kigali has got a really good feel to it. There is a real energy about the place. Next day, it was fantastic to wake to a beautiful day and a beautiful view from the Hotel bedroom. Breakfast was a delight and the surroundings were lovely.
Lisa: The run up to our amazing journey had been hectic. Too much work, and too many people expressing extreme anxiety about our safety on our arrival in Rwanda. No one we spoke to in Scotland seemed to have any real knowledge of what went on in Rwanda in 1994 and the perception is that it is a very dangerous place.
We were met at the airport by a Rwandan contingency. Louis, the pastor, and his three sons, two of whom were born in Scotland, along with the head of the local private primary school (Alpha Nursery) Deus. Elsie and Nicholas Hitimana also met us. Louis and his wife, Winnie (also a pastor) fled Rwanda during the genocide and lived in Linlithgow for years. Elsie and Nicholas also fled. Elsie was a Tutsi. Killers kept turning up at their house to kill her. Nicholas managed to pay them off and the pair of them had to flee to the Congo and then to Kenya.