Drive-by Shooting in Rwanda

11-19 March 2012


Ideally: I like to set up my camera and tripod and carefully compose a picture, waiting for just the right moment to click the shutter.

Practically: I was one of eight Americans in Rwanda whose main purpose was to interview and select twenty-three of Rwanda's most promising
high school students for scholarships to American universities to earn bachelor's degrees in science and mathematics. While being transported between
our hotel and the interview location at the Rwanda Education Board office in the capital city Kigali, it wasn't possible to carefully compose photographs.
Even after the interviews and selections had been made and some of the group embarked on a cross-country trip to track
chimpanzees in the rainforst, it wasn't practical to ask Paul Emmanuel Runganintwari (our driver/guide) to pull the Toyota Landcruiser
over every time I saw a photogenic scene. Therefore, the pictures that follow were shot through the Landcruiser window as
we zipped along at 60 kilometers per hour. They're not great, but they are better than nothing, and maybe you'll have a sense
of Rwanda. Its the best I could do under the circumstances.


A fountain in a roundabout in Kigali.
Kigali the capital of Rwanda is home to 1.2 million of Rwanda's 11 million people.




Construction is booming along the hilltops of Kigali





Hotels, office buildings, and restaurants abound on the ridges of Kigali





A residential area in Kigali





Thousands of motorcycle taxis provide quick inexpensive transportation for city dwellers.

People are friendly. Intersections have stoplights. Streets and sidewalks are neat and clean and stores are well stocked.




Motorcycle taxis at the ready.
For about US $2000 a man can buy a Chinese motorbike and start a taxi business.






City bustle





Luxury taxi

This one has a sunshade!





Driver training

The adjacent church and mosque may provide spiritual support.










Three pairs





Color Your World # 1




In 1994, about 1000 Tutsis sought refuge in the Catholic Church at Nyamata. A mob of Hutus and government soldiers
tossed grenades inside and then broke through the doors and slaughtered everyone inside with machetes.
The Church has been set aside as a Genocide Memorial and a mass grave has thousands of bones and hundreds of skulls on display.
Photographs were not allowed nor could they adequately convey the sense of horror and sadness of this place.





Primus Beer sponsors a competition to select Rwanda's most popular musician.











Education is a top priority. Public and religiously-affiliated private schools abound.





Work to do






The Akagere River meanders through Rwanda providing habitat for crocodiles and hippopotamuses.






Main street in a typical town south of Kigali





Main street in Butare which no longer exists

Explanation: About 800,000 people died in the 1994 genocide.
Suppose your father and mother, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins were murdered in Butare.
For as long as you live, at every mention of Buture, those wounds are reopened and your heart aches.
The government has decided to rename many of the towns and cities.
Butare has been renamed Huye. You won't find Butare on new maps.



Color Your World # 2





Prisoners are easily recognized by their orange or pink uniforms.
After the 1994 genocide, about 400,000 Rwandans were in prison.
Those who named their victims, described how they were killed and where the bodies were left, and
provided information about the activities of their comrades were given shortened sentences by civilian courts
comprised of village elders (men over 50 years old.)
Those who refused to confess completely or provide all the information requested do not recieved shortened terms.





Prisoners tend a rice patty











Rabbits are housed in hutches above talapia ponds.
Rabbit poop drops into the water. The fish grow quickly.
If your fish tastes like sh__, you know why!





Most farm work is done by women. Ditches form the boundaries of each family's plot.






Hills and mountains once covered by rainforest are now terraced farmlands.
Except for the national parks, virtually every square meter of land in Rwanda is under cultivation.
This hill has fields of tea bushes.





Garden plots are interspersed with eucalyptus trees (imported from Australia) which
provide timber for construction and firewood for cooking.











Occupied # 2





Fields of tea amid the forest of Nyungwe






In residence





Hanging on





Bicycles are plentiful throughout Rwanda but very few people actually ride bikes.
Most are used as two-wheeled trucks for hauling wood, produce, water, and
any other items that need to be moved from one place to another.





Silage for cows and goats










Milk jugs and water bottles





Soft drinks the hard way





Using your head if you don't have a bike






Color Your World # 3



More photos by GR Davis