As the whole world was in the Christmas mood, I chose to celebrate Christmas in a new fashion this time on and get to discover what Rwanda`s rural life has to offer me as a local visitor. I was used to think that traveling outside Kigali could be a boring experience but I was proved wrong.
My trip to the southern province was full of wonderful moments. Even though the weather is a lit bit colder than in Kigali, the journey outside our capital city brought me a peace of mind that can`t easily be found in a city where everyone is rushing somewhere.
My uncle who stays in Nyanza had always invited me to come down and spend some time with his family. Finally I decided that I had to spend Christmas holidays in an unusual way with my uncle`s family. As I went to Nyabugogo to board a bus to Nyanza, I found the bus park was full of travelers to the point I had to struggle to get a ticket.
The two hours journey passed quickly as each traveler was sharing stories. Contemplating scenes of the nature through the windows was also adding flavor to our Christmas mood. I received a warm welcome from my uncle as I arrived and could finally give a big hug to his three children that I haven`t met for a while.
In addition to going to church, taking pictures around Christmas tree, eating good food, conversing with family members and laughing we also took a time to visit Rwanda Ancient History Museum commonly known as “ mu Rukari”. Our guide who happened to be a lady dressed in traditional way took us around as she was explaining every detail about the museum.
I came to learn that Nyanza became Rwanda`s Royal Capital under the reign of King Yuhi V Musinga in 1899. The young lady in traditional dress took us around the site as we were contemplating Royal Traditional Palace of the Rwandan King, the INYAMBO ( Royal Traditional cows) and the residence of King Mutara III Rudahirwa that was built in 1932.
On the other side of the hill Mwima, we were able to visit the Royal burial site of King Mutara III ( 1811-1959) and his wife Queen Rosalie Gicanda (1928-1994). Rwesero art museum that displays contemporary artwork was our next schedule. We were only saddened to hear that the beautiful building that hosts the Art Museum was to be the New Palace of King Mutara III Rudahirwa. Our guide told us that the King died on July 25, 1959 in Bujumbura, Burundi after being treated for a headache by a Belgian physician.
My journey back to Kigali was full of sweet memories and I was left with a conviction that I will always set a time to discover a new place outside of Kigali. Going around the town of Nyanza, sometimes I was thinking that I am somewhere in Kigali when you look at the cleanliness of the city and its infrastructure. When you feel like you want to enjoy a quit week end, try a tour somewhere in one of Rwanda`s rural town and I am sure you won`t be disappointed.