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How I spent New Year’s in Kigali

January 2, 2009

I made a blissful return to Kigali on New Year’s Eve, but I was too zonked from travel to take part in the major festivities in town, including a giant outdoor concert with a dozen East African pop celebrities I, of course, had never heard of.

On New Year’s day, though, I went with friends in search of food. One friend had a car…but, like so many cars in Rwanda at the moment, no gasoline. There’s a shortage on, though it’s unclear as yet why. No one (whose not a bus, anyway) can buy more than 5000 RWF (a little under $10) at a time, given the limited supply.

We tried three or four gas stations only to get “the finger”—an attendant whose only job, given that he has no gasoline, is to wave his index finger back and forth at us, which means, “Nope, you’re not getting any here.” (It has the affect, in cross-cultural translation, of making me feel bad we even tried, though it’s not intended that way.) We finally found a gas station with a line of cars at a pump:

The line is a sure sign of petrol, but by the time it was our turn, they were out.

Happy New Year.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2009 12:12 pm

    Glad you made it. Hope your 2009 is a lucky year.

  2. January 3, 2009 11:57 am

    Flashback to rationing in USA circa 1972-73… so how many gallons or liters?) for $10 usa? Would it fill a car’s tank?
    The “taxi’s” must be suffering, and if so, the riders that need them. Hope you’ve polished your walking shoes! 😦 Happy New Year anyway!

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