Diaspoman: The hills of Rwanda: From dusty brown to green

Ten years ago, Ambrose walked along the Nyarutarama road towards a new primary school in search for a job. The school was Greenhills Academy.

Ten years ago, Ambrose walked along the Nyarutarama road towards a new primary school in search for a job. The school was Greenhills Academy.

Ambrose was a close friend of mine and his mission then was to connect with the new generation of Rwanda and be part of the rebuilding process.

Nyarutarama was a little known village with a bumpy and dusty road which meandered between some scattered trees that was meant to be a forest.

As Ambrose walked through the dusty road, he started to fantasise about the future. His eyes focused on the vast hills across the valley. He began to draw up imaginary plans in his mind. His eyes started to see large dairy farms across the hills.

Ambrose was from a family of pastoralists and that is why he was painting imaginary farms on top of the Nyarutarama landscape. He fantasised about huge trucks packed with diary milk distributing diary products across Kigali.

He could visualise his parents and other relatives coming back from exile to start such lucrative projects in Nyarutarama. For him, this was an untapped mass of land which could transform lives of people in Rwanda.

After an hour of walking, Ambrose entered the administration block at Greenhills Academy. He presented his job application but unfortunately there were no vacancies.

He was saddened by the fact that he could not work with the innocent young post Genocide generation. He felt the urge to work with the kids of Rwanda and try to reverse the terrible history that had led the nation into carnage and untold suffering.

There was no job and Ambrose had no choice but to walk back along the dusty Nyarutarama road back to Kabeza where he was staying at that time. After several attempts, things did not work out well so he decided to go abroad for greener pastures.

He was convinced that life would get better in the Diaspora. He thought he would also attain further studies to boost his chances of getting better employment. But life became very difficult for him as he had to cope with the unpredictable and harsh weather conditions.

He toiled and worked hard but could not get enough savings to afford himself further education. Years passed by and he longed to come back to Kigali. He had heard about so many success stories in Rwanda.

When he eventually came back after ten years, the surprises that awaited him were awesome. I was quite happy to take him around for a tour of Kigali. His main interest though was to visit Nyarutarama.

He wanted to pay a visit to Greenhills Academy and check out the developments as far as the new Rwanda young generation was concerned. I obliged and gave him a tour around Nyarutarama. What he had last seen a decade ago had totally changed.

The dusty road was now a clean tarmac road. Across the valley where Ambrose had day dreamed of setting up farms, was now a posh suburb with so many beautiful houses.

Something indeed was happening in Rwanda! And Ambrose could not believe his eyes. We took him to Gacuriro and the surrounding areas. He could not understand how the once shabby and impoverished area of Nyarutarama had fast transformed itself into a great Kigali residential area.

No signs of dust. No potholes. No scattered forests. Instead, nice looking cars crisscrossed the area while some expatriates jogged along the marvelous Nyarutarama road.
Ambrose and I approached Greenhills Academy and a deep sense of satisfaction swept across his face.

He felt satisfied that some of his dreams had not only come to reality but had also surpassed his expectations. What once used to be a dusty brown hill had become a beautiful green hill with a lot of bright shining light at the end of the tunnel…
Contact: diaspoman@yahoo.com