My apologies for the silence on the blogging front. After spending a completely fantastic week and a half in Kabale, Kisoro, and Rwanda, Kristen and I returned home to no power (still), no internet, and, as of today, no water. Seems that the water tank for our house is completely empty – dry season has certainly arrived! Needless to say, this trifecta has thrown a few wrenches in our work here.
It’s hard to believe it was over a week ago, but last Tuesday, after spending most of the morning recuperating from our hike the previous day, Kristen and I took bodas to the border and went through the rigmarole of exiting Uganda. Rwanda recently started imposing $50 visa fees for Canadians (previously it had been free for us to enter the country), which meant that we needed to complete an online visa application form before arriving at the border. The website had not been working for most of the previous week, though I’d been lucky enough to have been able to submit my form during a small window when the site would open on our slow internet connection here. Kristen, however, as well as a group of three other travellers we met while at Lake Bunyonyi for Christmas, had not yet gotten a response from the Rwandan authorities, and so were all turned away when they tried to enter the country. While they spent another night in Kisoro fruitlessly trying to get a hold of someone in immigration, I made my way from the border to Gisenyi, a beautiful town on Lake Kivu, just a few kilometres from the DRC. Vanessa, one of the previous Shanti volunteers who had travelled to Rwanda during her time here, had left very detailed information about her trip so it was a breeze for me to figure out which buses to take and how to find the cheap accommodation in town. I spent a quiet day and a half in Gisenyi, exploring around the town, walking by the lake and getting to see the the border with some tour guides I acquired along the way. Kristen and Jessica, Sune and Ido arrived late on Wednesday night, after finally getting some good luck in the form of a man who phoned immigration for them and talked with the official there until he agreed to issue the visas.