Wednesday: Aaron's 27th birthday began with an early departure from their home in Murunda. We had experienced an unusual night of heavy rains for the dry season, so the roads were quite slippery for the first hour of our drive. Thankfully, Aaron and Jerome had secured an experienced driver in a Toyota truck. We made it safely to Rubengera where we switched vehicles and drivers for the rest of our trip. We passed by the home of the author of "Left to Tell" as well as a World Vision water well project. Another hour or so brought us to the beautiful city of Kibuye on Lake Kivu. Ron and I were dropped off at the Home St. John hotel while Aaron and Deanne went on to the Bethany hotel for their Peace Corps conference. We enjoyed a relaxing day at our hotel overlooking the lake...African tea and Spanish omelette...yum. Ignaticius, Aaron's moto driver friend, came with another driver and gave us a beautiful ride to the Hotel Bethany. Deanne had arranged a special table on the balcony with their closest PC friends. It was a wonderful birthday party!
Thursday- We were on our own for a lovely day on Lake Kivu. The Kibuye Genocide Memorial Church is within walking distance of our hotel, so we took a short journey to this beautiful large church where thousands died in April of 1994. A destitute young woman and her infant were sitting on the empty church steps. These people have endured unimaginable suffering. After a relaxing brunch on the hotel balcony, we embarked on our boating adventure. As I write, we are sitting on the beach of Amohoro Island. Amohoro means "peace" in Kinyarwandan, and we have enjoyed an incredible afternoon of touring the tiny island, seeing beautiful birds, a monkey, and taking a snooze in hammocks on the beach. We feel a long, wonderful distance from all things work-related. We plan to take our return boat ride to the Cormoran resort for dinner with Aaron and Deanne. We are blessed.
The Cormoran was the most elegant and posh hotel we’ve seen since arriving in the western provinces. It is fairly new and is built on a very steep hillside overlooking Lake Kivu. We sat on the deck of the restaurant and watched the sunset. The food was delicious; the atmosphere relaxing; the service un-Rwandan in that it was relatively fast. Expensive? Yes, for Rwanda. The splurge was worth it. The moto rides back to our respective hotels was harrowing, but we survived and slept well. Tomorrow, we leave via bus for Kigali – our last day in Rwanda before flying to Johannesburg.