Day 4: Kigali Eats & Streets

The amazing view of Kigali from Pili Pili,
a local restaurant in Rwanda.

We started our day as normal, eating breakfast as a group in the hotel restaurant. Breakfast is different as compared to the US, typically chicken wings aren’t served as a breakfast meal, but here it is quite the norm and I love it. After breakfast we all loaded up on the bus and headed to an exchange center where we went in order to get Rwandan Francs in exchange for our American dollars. While at the exchange center I noticed security officers at the entrances and throughout the center, emphasizing the Rwandan idea of peace and security.

Classmate Yosh Nijman trying on a Rwandan-made
apron while souvenir shopping.

Before we headed to the souvenir shops, we stopped to eat at an amazing place called Pili Pili. I really liked this place because it was an imitation of a beach restaurant and it had a relaxing setting. The entire group just sat together on sofas and seat cushions and conversed while we waited for the food to come out. Pili Pili by far was the best food we have had so far and I hope we go back.

The reason we went to the exchange center to exchange our money was so we could visit souvenir shops later in the day. The shops themselves featured small traditional homes full from top to bottom with different crafts, paintings, and jewelry. All of the items in the shop conveyed such a cultural feel to them. Everything was homemade and hand written, the paintings were of wildlife found around the countryside and important memorial sites across the country. The crafts inside of the shops were made of one particular precious stone that they seem to revere as valuable as it was the stone used to make a lot of the jewelry and more expensive creations. The people of the shops were so eager for us to come inside and have a look and they seemed ecstatic at the sight of customers arriving to shop with them. Additionally, everything was negotiable with the shop owners. You can bargain for prices if you did not want to pay the requested price for the item and most times the shop owners would easily lower prices once they saw your interest in their possessions. Overall, today was one of my favorites yet and I’m excited to see what the rest of the trip has to offer.

-Ty Outlaw

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