On Sunday Jock, Kiki and I took off on the motorbikes toward Uganda. After leaving the paved road to Uganda we traveled approximately 40 kilometers around the Lake Bulera. Jock, Kiki and I were on a mission to find the man with the wooden bikes. Most Bizarre Foods is doing a spin off Most Bizarre Places and Rwanda is on their list for this season. As we traveled along the lake on dirt roads we came upon these little towns. There was no electricity or running water in the towns. People were washing their clothes in the stream in front of their mud brick homes. Being Sunday, the Rwandan women were dressed in these brilliantly colored and patterned dresses. To think they dress so fashionably, and do so while living in a mud brick home without a floor is quite amazing. And we worry about the dry cleaner misplacing a shirt.
We would stop from time to time to let Kiki speak to the villagers as to the location of the Wooden Bike man. Even without the modern conveniences and the distances between villages everyone knew this man and pointed us in his direction. The entire trip was completely surreal. I had no longing for the brick walled homes of overdeveloped Las Vegas no matter what conveniences I was missing in Rwanda. I was a witness to how the land looked thousands of years ago. Speechless.
When we were driving back into Ruhengeri we came upon a caravan of trucks with 20-30 people piled in the back bed of each truck. They were dressed in their Sunday finest. After weaving through 9 or 10 vehicles we came upon the lead vehicle, a car decorated in white with the bride and groom riding in the back seat. It was a Rwandan Wedding Procession. It was the end to a fantastic trip.
Luckily we made it back only minutes in front of a huge cloud burst. When it rains in Rwanda, God isn't kidding. When the rain stopped we all headed out for a human propelled ride! Jock, Kiki (Team Rwanda rider), Rambo and I headed out on the road to Gisenyi. Gisenyi is along the border of the DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). It's about 60 kilometers to Gisenyi. The road winds through the outlaying villages around Ruhengeri and then up into the mountains.
****An aside about Rambo**** Rambo is the guard for the Project Rwanda house. He is also trying to make it onto Team Rwanda Cycling. Rambo is an interesting man. He is thirty-one and was a soldier in the RPF (Rwandan Patriotic Front) which was led by Paul Kagame, the man who is now president after defeating the Hutu and Interahamwe Extremists responsible for the genocide. Doing the math, that would put him at about 16 years of age when he was a soldier. He rode with me the entire ride as Jock and Kiki were doing some training and had left us behind. Talk about feeling safe! We tried to talk but I know about as much Kinyarwanda as he does English, however, there was still a connection due to the bicycles and the ride. Today, when I came back from another ride toward Gisenyi, he opened the gate and welcomed me with a smile and said, "My sister". He did not know that phrase yesterday.****
After a screaming white knuckle descent dodging cars, trucks and people we arrived back at the house just as it was getting dark. Again we made dinner together, said "grace" together and ate together. There's something to be gained by taking life down a notch or six. I have lived in the moment every moment I have been in this country. Everyone should be so lucky to experience this feeling.