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6.01.2010 | Facts, Motivation, My Blog, The Team

Yesterday I was looking into obtaining travel Visas, given that I am traveling in two different African countries: Rwanda and Tanzania. I know that I need a Visa for Tanzania, but wasn’t sure if I needed one for when I land in Kigali, Rwanda. Wanted to make sure I had all that in place before my trip snuck up on me – it’s amazing how fast the time is whipping by!

So, I go onto the government Travel Information site, and pull up Rwanda’s info. This is what I see:

The level of Travel Warning in this report has not changed.  Sections 2 (grenade attacks in Kigali on May 15) has been updated. Exercise High Degree of Caution.


Travellers should be vigilant at all times. Although uncommon, attacks by rebel groups and incidents of violence occur from time to time. Grenade attacks have occurred in a number of areas in the country, including in the Southern Province and Kigali in 2009. A number of similar attacks have been occurring in Kigali since February 2010. The attacks usually occur at nightfall. A main central roundabout, a busy bus station and a restaurant at the center of Kigali were targeted in previous attacks, with the most recent one occuring on May 15, 2010. Casualties have been reported as a result of these attacks.

I send the info to Ali. She reads it and responds that upon speaking with a friend of hers in the area, she learns that there is actually an election taking place (only the 2nd election since the Genocide) in Rwanda on August 9th. That’s 5 days before I land in Kigali.

Now, I’m  not the most experienced nor the most confident traveler, and as you may recall, I tend to be a rather adept Disaster Magnet. I don’t think these are fantastic qualities to be in possession of when traveling to a place where there are grenade attacks happening at random.

I have a decision to make.

I go back to Marlin Travel, and ask to change my flight. I will not be going to Rwanda.

I must admit, I do feel like a bit of a wuss for this. Like I’m quitting, or giving up, or backing out… but I’m just not comfortable going to Rwanda. I haven’t ever been 100% sold on the idea, but I wanted to experience something totally out of my comfort zone. However, sitting in a Rwandan hospital with limbs missing is just a tad beyond my comfort zone, really, so hey… that’s that.

Sure. I know I have an over-active imagination. I fully realize that, and take total responsibility for my occasional freak-outs of gargantuan magnitude. And yes, maybe I’m totally blowing this whole “grenade attacks” thing out of proportion. But I’m willing to look foolish over this. I’d much rather be proven wrong than have my parents pick up a pine box at the airport back home.

So, I am now flying from Vancouver to Dar es Salaam. This will then give me the opportunity I have been looking for to spend some time exploring Zanzibar. Yes, I’ll miss seeing the mountain gorillas in Rwanda this time, and yes, I’ll miss out on doing so with Alison, whose dream is to see those mountain gorillas.

And yes, that does hurt my heart.

I feel like I’m making the right decision, but that doesn’t make it any less sad that I’ll miss out on witnessing  a good friend achieve her dream.

Guess I’ll just have to give her an extra hug when we’re standing on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro.




DOOD! My mother better not read your blog.


Awwww….. it’s ok that you won’t be there with me when I visit the Mountain Gorillas… It will be just as amazing to be able babble on about it and try to explain my experience to you on the mountain of death ..I mean Kilimanjaro.


Well, we’ll certainly have the time, considering I’ll have your legless body strapped to the porter walking in front of me.


Travel safe gals! And come back in ONE PIECE! And I mean it LITERALLY! Darn… Now, I sound like you mothers!

p/s : Btw, I don’t think what you did is wussy. As the famous lyrics goes “You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away and know when to run.” I’ve been through enough shit in my life to know that an overblown ego and no brain to match IS a natural disaster magnet, so really, I think you gals are on the right road of winning. Or climbing. Whatever. I must admit, it isn’t easy to walk away, and I know what you mean by feeling like you are weak and wussy and stuff. At 20, I’ll beat myself over it! At 30 plus plus and counting, I’ll say living another day so that you CAN make a difference to someone in your life with a real face is MORE important than trying to prove something to something (usually our ego) who doesn’t even have opposable toes. Hmmm.. am I making any sense here?


You have just reinforced the importance of opposable toes. We forget that, all of us! Thank you, Claudia or helping us not take for granted the joy we have in our opposable toes.