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Kigali was not how I imagined. For one thing, I never expected to be wandering around the streets, hitching rides on taxi-motos and feeling safe. I never expected the vibrant colours, open smiles and invites into restaurants; the earnest attempts to teach me phrases of Kinyarwandan. What I definitely didn’t expect was a sense of resilience and rebuilding, of community.

 

The taxi-moto industry is absolutely huge. Seldom do you have to wait more than a minute (and that's in less populated districts) to flag one down.

The taxi-moto industry is absolutely huge. Seldom do you have to wait more than a minute (and that’s in less populated districts) to flag one down.

This city, known both as Rwanda’s capital, and in the same breath the scene of its genocide, holds many unanswered questions for me. How people can still function, where memories meet you face to face on a daily basis, I will never understand. What so impressed me was the collective togetherness, friendliness and cleanliness of Rwanda, its vision and determination to remember its past and move forward in all aspects.

Kigali is often skimmed through as a necessary overnight stop on the way up to see the gorillas. If you have the chance, I recommend you spend some time in this city, walking or taking motos.

See the rest of the images in Getaway’s February 2016 portfolio.

 

Umuganda, the last Saturday of every month where the community as a whole comes together to clean and build their local districts. I took this image at a small, local rally where President Kagame was speaking.

Umuganda, the last Saturday of every month where the community as a whole comes together to clean and build their local districts. I took this image at a small rally where President Kagame was speaking.

 

Traditional dress, Imikenyero, adds splashes of colour

Traditional dress, Imikenyero, adds splashes of colour.

 

The markets are busy scenes filled with fabric, food and goods.

The markets are busy scenes filled with fabric, food and goods.

 

Blues, greens, oranges and reds were common colours

Blues, greens, oranges and reds were common colours.

 

Motos being carefully polished ahead of the day's work

Motos being carefully polished ahead of the day’s work.

 

One of my favourite finds: Show markets. Shoes EVERYWHERE in huge piles, often mismatched and all used. While I didn't go with purchasing in mind, it was quite a sight to see.

One of my favourite finds: shoe markets. Shoes EVERYWHERE in huge piles, often mismatched and all used. While I didn’t go with purchasing in mind, it was quite a sight to see.

 

Tree tomatos make for new taste experiences, and my guide at the Richard Kandt house (explorer and founder of Kigali)

Tree tomatoes make for new taste experiences, and my guide at the Richard Kandt house (explorer and founder of Kigali).

 

The view over Kigali from the Genocide Memorial

The view over Kigali from the Genocide Memorial.

 

Read the whole story in the February 2016 issue of Getaway magazine.

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