You will suddenly start to feel a tranquil atmosphere as soon as you go past Kanombe Military Hospital. It does not matter what time of the day — morning, afternoon or evening hours — only the movement of cars occasionally breaks the monotonous silence in this rich neighbourhood.
This is Nyarugunga, another sprawling up market suburb of Kigali city, strategically located atop a hill making it the peak point of Kicukiro District.
Its location gives Nyarugunga a unique and serene environment that is befitting of a residential area. It is surrounded by leafy villages such as Masaka and Ndera.
A ride to Nyarugunga feels like one to a monastery where monks live a life of exclusion or to a seminary for catholic priests due to the silence that engulfs the area.
The roads that skirt around the hill are pleasant with nothing like a pothole; this therefore makes them some of the safest roads in the country.
Green Hills Estate, located five kilometres east of Kigali international Airport, offers amazing view of Rusororo and Masoro hills and is often described as one of the prides of Nyarugunga.
Karekezi Yonah, another resident, says that Nyarugunga has turned to be a serene environment for young couples who just got married and plan to start a family because there are good education facilities such as kindergarten, primary and secondary schools nearby.
A university, medical facilities, especially the referral military hospital, makes Nyarugunga an attractive place to live in.
Security key to development
It is however important to note that the security that Nyarugunga enjoys has also been a catalyst for its rapid development. For those who leave places of work very late in the night, Nyarugunga seems to be the place to reside in as one is assured of safety on the way back home in the wee hours.
Area residents boast of good security saying that as a result, they feel free to carry out business at anytime of the day or night.
“I can conduct my business throughout the night without fear,” says Katabarwa Lameck, a businessman in the area.
Shops that work till late and a market in Mulindi that is considered the cheapest in the city, have brought more life to the rapidly developing area and also added to the beauty of Nyarugunga.
Moving deep into the area, I came across the most admirable gardens with perhaps the freshest air one can ever get in Kigali.
“Every time I enter the village, I tend to forget that there is death because of the comfort in the area,” said a one Rugwe, a resident.
According to Mukayuri Goret, the director of Soromptimist, an organisation that brings together women in the area to learn how to create jobs and make meet, Nyarugunga is still blessed with women with creativity international.
Mukayuri says that after the First World War, there was a general loss of lives and generally the number of men who died surpassed that of women.
There was misery henceforth as families lost their dear ones due to hunger. This was because many men had been killed in the war. Rwanda again experienced the same after 1994 when many men were killed during the Genocide against the Tutsi.
The situation in Rwanda at the time forced one family from Belgium to start an organisation whose major aim was to empower women, especially those in Nyarugunga, to work and look after their families.
The founder of this organization was a man called San Marco, whose name was later passed on to the area primary school, Ecole san Marco. This was in appreciation of his selfless efforts to develop the area and the love he had for the people.
This organization has helped many women from all walks of life to reduce dependence on their husbands for survival and day today family needs.
“I help my husband with fees for our children and I got the skills from Centre San Marco,” Mukakimenyi Betty one of the beneficiaries of the project says.
“It’s quite fascinating to learn about people living in Nyarugunga, they are such outgoing people and stylish-modern people who have explored different academic height which definitely explain their intellectual conscience,” Kirabo Joyce another area resident says.
Nyarugunga is also home to the former presidential palace, now turned into a museum where part of Rwanda’s history is preserved.
‘’I love being in Nyarugunga with all its financial and professional opportunities it brings,” says Kirabo.