The First of Many

I always find it difficult to start a blog because so much has happened since we landed.   For the 5 days that Remy and I have been in Rwanda, we have been staying at the Discover Hostel in Kacyiru, Kigali.  This place is very accommodating, and the main perk is definitely the free wifi!  Being able to Skype and Facetime with family and friends back home has made the transition a lot easier.  A lot of travelers from all over the world stay here.  My roommates are from Italy, I’ve met an electrician from Germany, a lawyer from Kenya, and the list goes on.  It’s interesting to talk to these people to hear about their experiences and what their purpose for being here is. Being that Discover has many foreigners, there is a burrito spot (Meza Fresh) just down the street, very similar to Chipotle or Qdoba.  Meza Fresh was started by an American and is a hit amongst the locals and the foreigners staying at the hostel. I’m sure we will be making many stops at Meza Fresh throughout the days we are here!

Morning Run
Morning Run
Other than the great food,  the hostel is at the top of one of many hills, thus the view is incredible.  Remy and I made sure to take a long look as we struggled (more like I struggled, he ran backwards up the hill as I basically crawled) back up the hill on a morning run!
Our first stop the next morning was to the immigration office.  Getting the proper visas for our stay is crucial!  We thought this was going to be a difficult procedure, however we were the first ones in the office and are just missing one form.  Fortunately, we have Isa here guiding us along the way and translating everything for us. Having someone who has been in our shoes and can speak Kinyarwandan goes a loooonggg way! She made sure we got our phones situated, got everything we needed from the market, went over event planning and budgeting, and most importantly; ensures that we don’t get hustled from the moto drivers.  They see muzungo’s (foreigners) and raise the price for travel immediately. It’s funny, they try and hustle her/us, but when she starts speaking Kinyarwandan (also throwing in a few english, spanish and french words) they have no choice but to agree with her prices, even if it’s for 10 cents less, she finds a way.
Remy and I also got to play some ball; after all the traveling it was much needed!  Some of the guys we played with are on the Rwandan national team and UGB team.  UGB is the team that Remy will be playing on once season starts, and they are hoping he brings them a championship! Watching them play reminded me of everything my college coach wanted us to do; play in transition and get to the basket.
The Family
The Family

They worked very well together and played with heart, a great thing to see.  Although Rem and I couldn’t find the inside of the rim to save our lives (lol) I’m sure next time we play the jitters will be gone!

Later that evening we were able to meet members of the UGB team who welcomed us into their family.  I know I speak for both Remy and I when I say that we are extremely grateful to have a group of people who we can say are family here in Rwanda.  They celebrated our arrival with great music, dance and food.  Rem and I are going to have to work on our African dance moves (lol) and give them a shock for next time.

Although we haven’t been able to do much basketball stuff we have kept busy with meetings and traveling around the city.  It’s funny sometimes I feel like I’m back in NYC when people try and sell me literally anything!! I think the one that caught my eye was this guy trying to sell me a globe.  Where would I even put that?

This week we will be meeting with the Basketball Federation of Rwanda.  I’m hoping we can set up an event so that the kids from the Eastern Province can come to Kigali and play in the stadium. Tomorrow we are going to Kayonza and will get to take part in a practice with some of the kids.  I am very excited to see this part of Rwanda and to finally play some ball with the young ones! I’m sure Rem and I will get some interesting looks over in the village but I’m ready to embrace it! It has been a wonderful journey thus far, and I can’t wait to see what the next few weeks have in store for us!

Talk soon!

Muramuke! (goodnight!)

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