Last night we went to what is affectionately known as ‘The Pork Restaurant’. I don’t believe there’s more of a lads’ restaurant in the world. The beer is cheap, cutlery isn’t provided and there are two things on the menu: pork (ordered by the kilo) and fried banana. We decided on 4 kilos between 5 of us, a ludicrous amount. We’d all eaten lunch and that’s a lot of meat. Like the soldiers we are, we bravely struggled through it all, feeling just as we finished that our eating exertions had justified the extravagance. There were three very un-Rwandan things about this meal. Most locals don’t feel the need to drink beer, dinner doesn’t usually happen and meat is a real rarity. I can guarantee that late-night branches on our high streets would flourish but, for the aforementioned reasons, the locals don’t seem to have embraced the concept as readily as we have.
Just to prove I’m not spending all my time getting fat and breaking local customs I’ll tell you about our trip to a village called Bweyeye. It’s a four-hour drive south, through the rainforest. The road provides spectacle and struggle in equal measures. Only once in its history has Bweyeye had any real attention, during a brief gold rush 12 years ago. Now abandoned by the miners, all this long dusty street, encircled by wilderness wants is swinging doors and dawn shootouts to complete the eerie feel of
I’ve been to places where aid groups don’t go, but everyone has signs of the outer world. Bweyeye was the first town of size that didn’t sell bottled water, a luxury that only the rich afford, but a necessity for anywhere expecting guests. To a foreigner this was as acute a reminder as anything of the town’s isolation, an almost insurmountable problem. Good work is being done in this place, squeezed between the forest and