Every moto driver in Kigali now knows where I am staying, but none of them knows how to get there.
Most of my first day in Rwanda was spent on the back of a motobike. Given how cheap it is and how amazing the views are, it wasn’t a bad way to spend the day.
Communicating with the moto drivers was challenging at best. We went to Western Union instead of an ATM. We went to the Impala hotel instead of the Impala bus station. I flagged down countless other people who might know how to direct them to the genocide memorial.
I learned that when your bike runs low on fuel, just tip it sideways and give it a good shake. Then proceed to the next petrol station. (This happened twice within one 24 hour window.)
And I learned that unlike in Kenya, where all the drivers seem to be out to hustle you, in Rwanda they seemed genuinely interested in helping.
I stood in the bustling lot of the Kigali bus station, facing a sea of moto drivers, wondering how I was going to give them directions to my small, out of the way B&B. Trying a different tactic, I handed one driver a slip of paper with the hotel name and street name. He didn’t know where it was, so he asked his friend. Soon I had 15 drivers huddled around me all trying to figure out where it was located, and even more watching curiously and shouting advice from afar. I couldn’t help but laugh. I didn’t feel vulnerable like I sometimes do in Nairobi. Instead, I was amused and quite enjoying myself.
One driver finally said he knew where it was located. I was skeptical but got on anyway. We drove around, asking person after person. Clearly we were lost, but we were getting closer. As we finally pulled up to the hotel, he said “oh, Good News Guesthouse, not Good News hotel.”
Yes, let’s pretend that’s why we couldn’t find it.