Tuesday December 2nd – Kigali/Entebbe/Kampala
Our previous experience with a Rwandan partner had not been entirely successful (computers not been delivered to local schools, Camara Training Certs. being withheld from those completing the training) so
the main focus of this trip was to spend time with Evode to better assess whether we can work together as partners in opening a Digital Hub in the country.
Rwanda appears to be much more centralised and hierarchical in terms of decision making than other African countries, so the day was spent visiting a variety of government/political entities whose support would be needed to open the Hub: the executive secretary for the Tumba Sector in Butare city (where the principal
university is located and probably the site for the Hub); EICT, a government/military-sponsored organisation that refurbishes computers, provides training and certification (ICDL) and does some software development; the Rwandan Development Board; and the ICT Department in KIST (Kigali Institute of Science and Technology).
Walking back from the last of these meetings we passed the old military barracks in the city where a memorial had been established to 10 Belgian soldiers brutally killed while trying to protect the moderate Hutu Prime Minister at the start of the genocide. It is a peaceful place today but I found myself thinking back 14 years ago to a hot steamy night in Kigali, with sporadic gun fire through out the city and mayhem in the streets as Tutsi and moderate Hutus were dragged from their homes to be slaughtered. One Belgium soldier had tried to grab a gun from his captors and was mowed down in a hail of bullets – the large holes made by those bullets remain clearly imprinted on the walls of the barracks. The Hutus militia then proceeded to thrown grenades into the building where the other Belgium soldiers had been tied and bound, with their Achilles tendons cut so they could not run. The marks where the grenades had exploded were clearly seen and some blood stains still remained. Even though this event was a small footnote on the wider genocide, I have never experienced a sense of violence as I did walking through those rooms yet I am glad that they have kept the place very much as it was in April 1994 lest we forget how terrible human nature can be.