Hotel Rwanda (Hôtel des Mille Collines)

There are fewer Irish in Rwanda than in the other African countries where Camara has operations; there is no embassy (Kevin Kelly the Irish Ambassador in Uganda looks after Rwanda) and I have yet to meet any Irish religious orders. In Rwanda, it seems the Americans and British are in, the French are out and the Belgians are tolerated.

The tricolour is kept flying by two Irish NGOs, Trocaire (run by an Englishman) and Concern (run by an Ethiopian). I called on both organisations to introduce myself and to begin building a network within the wider NGO community. More importantly I also wanted to scrounge some unwanted desks and chairs for our fledgling operation. Paul Watson has been the country manager of Trocaire for the last year and has been around the Great Lakes area – Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo since 1994. Tilaye Nigussie has been the head of Concern Concern for the last two years. These NGOs stand as proud testament to Irelands work in Africa, and their willingness to share their expertise and contacts (and hopefully office furniture) with us is much appreciated.

Travel Tip. If you want to experience one of the worlds most famous hotels then take a coffee on the terrace of Hôtel des Mille Collines ‘thousand hills’. People probably know this place better as Hotel Rwanda and it was here that the Hutu hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina sheltered and protected a 1,000 people (mainly Tutsi) against the vicious Hutu ‘Those Who Kill Together’ militia. He did this for 100 days using the water from the swimming pool for drinking, washing and cooking. The swimming pool is still there but unfortunately the rooms are outside Camara’s budget.

Press-ups 330, Situps 260, Bicep curls 0