10 Fast Facts

…about Rwanda.

1. Plastic bags are banned here.  They will even search your bags at the border and make you remove any that you try to bring into the country.

2. You can walk alone at night.  Kigali is relatively safer than its East African capital counterparts (Kampala, Nairobi, Dar) where I would never attempt to walk alone after the sun goes down.

3. French is more widely spoken and written then English.  Thank you, Belgium.

4. The coffee is phenomenal.  Full stop.

5.  Tea is only drunk in the morning with breakfast.  No mid-day chai break here.

6. When trying to get your attention, Rwandans will “hiss” at you. No joke.

7.  Overcrowding is rarer on buses.  In Kigali, traffic police actually police the streets, especially around rush hour, and pull buses over if there is even one person more than there are seats.  Even the bus conductor, the guy collecting the money and hollaring out the bus’s destination, must have a seat to himself.

8. While health insurance isn’t mandatory, however, the government provides cost-effective, subsidized plans (called “Mutuelle de Sante,” or “Mutuelle” for short) that range from free to $6/year and upwards, based on Income Level Category.

9.  Rwanda is in the UTC +2 time zone, or Central African Time.  Daylight savings time is not observed.

10.  Rwandas tell time in the “African way”, adding or subtracting 6 to the time, depending on the hour.  Eg. 10am would be said as 4 o’clock in the morning in Kinyarwanda/Swahili while 12am would be said as 6 o’clock at night.

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