Saturday, June 4, 2011

Hotel Rwanda Reborn

Tuesday night we had dinner at Hotel Des Milles Collines, (Hotel of the thousand hills). On Tuesday evenings, brochettes are served and cost only 1100 Rwandan francs, a little less than 2 dollars each. Beef, chicken or fish are roasted on a skewer and are very much like our kabobs. Personally, I can recommend the fish and the chicken! The hotel is fenced and gated and sits in the middle of a bustling commercial area. We entered the beautiful lobby through glass doors and were met by the sweet fragrance of flowers. This could have been a Ritz-Carlton in the US, spacious and well appointed. On the balcony patio, tables were set for dinner. By the pool there was a bar and a band playing “Afro-fusion”, a pleasingly soft, bluesy  type of music. Tables were set around the pool, chairs were cushioned and the view over the city was amazing. But for those of us who have seen the movie “Hotel Rwanda”, we were mesmerized by the pool. During the genocide less than 20 years ago, this hotel was a refuge for those fearful of losing their lives. Over 1,000 Rwandans lived here in harsh conditions to save their own lives.. As the aggressors cut off the water supply, those in the compound used the pool water to survive. The atmosphere today gives no hint to the hotel’s history. All is light, clean, beautiful and happy. The irony is not lost on me. Hotel Des Mille Collines is still a refuge, but now one where we came to escape the business of our hectic days, the routine of the past 2 weeks, to be rejuvenated. And as we sat around that pool, watching the sun set over the thousand hills of Rwanda, we each felt that the pool still has a life giving quality, because we left with a renewed energy to face the excitement of our adventure.