Africa Study Visit in Rwanda: Day One

All participants of the Study Visit arrived safely in Kigali, having flown in at different times and on different airlines to meet up at the Hilltop Hotel, our ‘home away from home’ whilst we’re staying in Rwanda’s capital city. At 3pm local time, today, we kicked off our official programme with a summary of some technical and organizational arrangements for the coming few weeks. After the details had been sorted out, we moved on to a couple of team building activities before starting our academic preparations for the week ahead.

On the basis of the interests of the institutions that we are going to visit and the interests of the particular speakers that we are going to meet, we took part in a really useful workshop that helped us to understand more about setting questions and the different methods we could use to facilitate discussion. We also talked about the important issues of moral sensitivity, the responsibility of those who pose questions, cultural dynamism in Rwanda and the pluses and minuses of open and semi-open questions.

We finished the day by a visit connected with a late dinner at Chez Lando Hotel. The manager of the hotel gave us a tour and told us about the hotel’s fascinating past. As it happened, Laurenz knew quite a lot about the owners of the hotel and its amazing history described in Romeo Dallaire’s book “Shake Hands with the Devil”. Unfortunately, a heavy and rather unexpected rainstorm meant that we had to put off our plans to visit the Amohoro stadium, which played such an important role in the events of 1994 – but because it’s quite close to our hotel, we hope to make time in our busy schedule to visit it on another day.