Last week, I took a 5 day trip to Rwanda
I have heard and read a lot of positive things about Rwanda, so I wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about.
Rwanda is a small and landlocked country in East Africa. The country has a total area of 26,338km2 (Nigeria is 35 times the size of Rwanda’s land area)
Rwanda is a beautiful country, no doubt. The mix of its beautiful hilly landscapes, lovely weather, heart-wrenching history of the 1994 genocide and beautiful people left me with many memorable memories I’ll be sharing in this post.
We had a pretty busy itinerary for this 5 day trip.
In fact the itinerary was so packed that I hardly had time to venture out into town on my own. but if you ask me, the 16 other people I went on this tour with made it memorable.
Visit to Kigali Memorial
We kicked off the tour with a visit to the Kigali genocide memorial. This was a very solemn moment for me as I had been reading the series on Rwanda on the Humans of New York Instagram page (@humansofny)
The horror of the full extent of man’s inhumanity to a fellow man was unbelievable.
I was deeply shaken to see how people were murdered with machetes and how babies were smashed to walls simply because they belonged to one tribe and not the other.
I felt the agony while listening to the recorded interviews of survivors who shared the harrowing experience of seeing their loved ones murdered in cold blood and how they still live with the memories over 2 decades after.
A friend of mine met a man who said he lived across the street of the man who killed his mother. He lives with that reality everyday yet chooses to live in peace because he understands that to seek vengeance would also make him a murderer.
It was a powerful lesson on how ethnic slurs brewing below the surface of a nation can lead to a full-blown genocide with over 1 million people murdered in 30 days.
Here’s the lesson- Let’s not let ethnic slurs fester in anyway. As much as we may disagree with people of a different tribe sometimes, let us always seek common ground and not let the seeds of disunity grow in our minds or even worse, plant those seeds in the minds of our children. If we don’t, it can quickly disintegrate to a war we absolutely do not need in our nation today.
As the 2019 elections draw near, please avoid ethnic slurs or arguments. Let us stick to the facts and not believe every broadcast message on WhatsApp.
In Rwanda today, no one is allowed to claim a tribe. They are simply Rwandans. In the same vein, let us simply be Nigerians who want the our country to progress.
By the way, if you’re on Instagram, you should read the real life accounts of survivors on the @humansofny page. They are incredible stories!
Masterclass with the Faculty of the African Leadership University (ALU), Rwanda
Networking is always important. I told a friend of mine I was visiting Rwanda and she immediately introduced me to her sister who is the member of Faculty at ALU, Rwanda.
I checked out ALU’s website and I loved the concept of education they offer. Each student of ALU spends 9 months studying in the university and 3 months working in a corporate organisation every year. That way, the students have at least 1 year working experience when they graduate and are well -positioned to get started on the corporate ladder.
I taught a two hour master class to members of the faculty and I absolutely loved it.
Let me tell you a secret; I was scared when I was asked to take this master class. That’s because academics are probably the toughest people to teach. They know a bit about everything..Lol
However, by the end of the class. I was absolutely confident in my global skills and ability to teach investing and the concept of investment clubs.
I was pleasantly surprised and grateful for the great positive feedback as well.
Lesson learnt- Don’t ever underestimate what you know. You have a gift the world needs. You just need to be confident and step out. There’s something you know or can do that only you can do the way it is meant to be done. Stop doubting yourself.
My book on Investment clubs also got to make a stop in Rwanda. Yipee!
Road trip to Lake Kivu in North Rwanda
We also went on a road trip to Lake Kivu. Lake Kivu is located along the Northern part of Rwanda which shares a land border with the Republic of Congo.
We were informed we were going on a boat cruise on the lake, so I was really looking forward to it and even got dressed up for it.
Only to get to the lake to see a canoe!
Honestly, I was disappointed. The truth is I wouldn’t take a canoe ride in Lagos, Nigeria so why would I go all the way to another country to take a canoe ride on a lake?
Nope, it wasn’t going to work. You guessed right, I didn’t go on the canoe ride..Lol
This made me realize I really need to begin to appreciate what we have in our country Nigeria. I have gone on multiple boat rides in Lagos and I absolutely enjoyed them
We actually have a lot more to offer in terms of tourism in Nigeria than I saw in Rwanda, in terms of places to visit.
Our key drawback as a nation is our poor infrastructure such as in terms of road network, electricity, transportation etc
Yes, I know I probably sound like a broken record but honestly, Nigeria needs to wake up. I actually got upset when some people on the trip with me started to down-talk Nigeria.
Oh yes, we have disappointing infrastructure, but we also have a lot to be proud of.
I was excited to see Nigerian banks every where in Rwanda, GT bank, Access bank, Eco bank etc. They love our music as well. Simi and Johnny Drille are quite popular in Rwanda.
Before I go on a patriotic rant, let me share about the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA Awards 2018)
This was a great way to end the trip. We got the opportunity to dress up in dinner dresses, meet movie stars from Africa and experience an award show.
This was my first award show ever, so it was quite an experience.
Again, Nigerians stole the show winning awards and giving us a great music performance (Think one half of Psquare).
Well, I’ll admit South Africans won a lot of awards too..Lol
I hardly ever get the time to attend these shows in Nigeria, so I immersed myself in the experience and was even captured on media dancing
All in all, it was a good trip. I enjoyed touring Rwanda, but I came back with a resolve to contribute my part to developing this country I call home for now. I might not contribute in the traditional expected way but I do have a plan so watch out for my news in a couple of months.
I also intend to travel to more African countries. We have a lot of African history to explore.
Africa is the next frontier for global development. This is a good time to explore and tap into investment opportunities in emerging countries in Africa as they navigate their way to development.
The nagging question on my mind right now is, how can I be part of this growth in Nigeria and Africa?