Arrival at Kigali International Airport


Tired from the long-haul flight, Fred-Marc and I hope to pass the gates with all our stuff unbothered. But one of the officers stops us. We show her the Letter of Intent Project Air had provided us with. The officer asks me to call Deirdre; however, I don’t have her phone number handy. I tell her that Deirdre is going to see us at the Airport. "Once you have passed you won’t be able to go back again," a customs officer explains me. Finally they decide to keep my passport as a pledge. Finally, Deirdre arrives. In the local language, Kinyarwanda, she explains quite verbosely, that these mats and gym balls are a "gift to the nation". I ask her to translate for me what she just said. An international recipe, it seems: Acknowledge authority, make excuses, name culprits, joke, and promise to bring along a Letter to the Nation next time.

The Airport is brand new, it has been constructed during the last three months, we learn from Deirdre. Which means it also has a rather efficient customs office.

Jean de Dieu and Deirdre quite craftily arrange our piles of luggage on an elderly Toyota. On our way to Deirdre’s house we buy five bottles of beer for 5,500 Rwandan Francs. The fact that we were allowed to import 5,000 Rwandan Francs per person, somehow tells us that this beer must have been a very expensive one ...

Deirdre’s house is located on one of the thousand Rwandan hills. From many windows around, wild howls of joy are to be heard. Fred-Marc instantly recognizes their root cause, to Jean de Dieu’s great pleasure: Ghana having just scored against the Germans.