I stopped rolling up my sleeve, and watched to see if his face betrayed his words and showed any signs of untruthfulness. It did not; his eyebrows were genuinely raised in surprise as he shook my hand and proceeded on down the street.It took me a moment, frozen in our busy intersection to digest what he had said. You see, my colleague is from the Congo. The man from the Democratic Republic of Congo asked if where we live is dangerous. The Congo. C O N G O.
|View from our deck: Menacing|
Nyamirambo, our neighborhood, is the bustling Muslim district of Kigali; a bounding pulse of the city of Kigali. Two towering mosques mark the entering and the passing of our neighborhood, and our house lies directly in between the two. This leaves us vulnerable to the morning calls to prayer, the never-closing bars, the stray-dog discussions at 4 am, and the constant hum of the chatter and traffic that never ceases. 'Rambo even has a Town Crier. One man, obviously chosen for the sheer-unpleasant quality to his voice, arms himself with a loudspeaker, and at random intervals (day or night, sun, rain, whatever) plants himself on the corner of every intersection and yells in rhythmic Kinyarwandan (Ubanda-Grenada-Lugunda-Uganda).
|2020: Closing in a Decade|
|The First Wave is Free|
Kigali is like a bad actor; pretending to be something that it is not. Few neighborhoods offer the realism and awakening of the real situation that Nyamirambo does. It forces you to confront questions of charity, of ethics, of power and privilege. Of how where you were born determines a large portion of how your life will be lived. With 80% of Rwanda living in the rural populations, our neighborhood is a truer representative of the state of the country.
It's what makes living here matter though; the chaotic, urban sprawl, the misunderstood neighborhood characters and community that we are becoming a part of, the poverty and privilege. It's all here in the beautifully bold and vivid streets of Nyamirambo.