Every weekend thousands throng to Nyabugogo to board buses headed to Kampala, Nairobi, Bujumbura, Dar es Salaam and even parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Those heading to Uganda often board the big buses but there is a certain category that prefers to use smaller cars of the Toyota Ipsum make. These are students attending Ugandan universities just across the border.
Kabale which is the first major town after one has crossed the Gatuna border has universities that have attracted hordes of Rwandan students. Kabale University and Bishop Barham University College are the most popular but other universities like Uganda Christian University and Kampala International University also have campuses in Kabale.
These universities have weekend programmes that see students attending lectures on Saturday and Sunday. This arrangement has proved attractive to those with full time jobs who work during the week and travel over the weekend for classes.
According a driver only indentified as Dan, the students travel on Friday evening to Kabale and return on Sunday evening. “Actually if I am taking only students I drive them up to the university and they can even call me to pick them on Sunday once they are done with their studies,” he said.
Another taxi driver who only identified himself as Mahmood, the students have offered them good business over the years. “We now have about 10 Toyota Ipsums that ply Kigali – Kabale and when students are in school we are in business,” he pointed out. “We charge them Rwf4000 from here to Kabale,” he added.
One student who was studying at Kabale University last year but preferred to remain anonymous, told Education Times that this arrangement was very conducive since he had to work during the week and yet he need to upgrade on his education. “Instead of spending weekends doing nothing much, I used to go and study and now I have a Bachelors degree in Business Administration.”