After nearly 2 weeks of heading south, it was finally time to cut east, back across the country and in the direction of Kigali.
We had two days to cover 65km, definitely doable, but the first 5 km climb out of Kibuye was undoubtedly the toughest part of the run so far and the combination of the altitude and steep incline made for a fairly exhausting and slow 1st day.
Our destination was the city of Gitarama in the Muhanga District in central Rwanda. Gitarama is the second largest city in Rwanda and remains a key centre of governance in the country.
For the first time on the run, the road was completely paved and it was a joy to pass through the quirky mountain towns. I continue to be amazed by the kindness of the locals I meet out on the road and the hospitality they offer me.
Word of Run Rwanda appears to have been spread by local media, and I was surprised when a car pulled up beside me, and an old man shouted out ‘are you John from Run Rwanda, can we stop for a photo!’ It’s fantastic that the project is beginning to have an impact in the country and we’re excited to have our first national TV and Radio interview back in Kigali, on Wednesday. I’m hoping all of this attention will continue to raise awareness and funds for the African Entrepreneur Collective.
After a slightly easier second day of running we arrived in Gitarama and stopped in to stay at the Azizi Life centre in the heart of the city.
Azizi Life is a fantastic local social enterprise that works with a wide range of co-operatives and communities, encouraging them to use their unique skills to create Rwandan arts and crafts while simultaneously giving them quick and easy access to local and international markets, to sell their goods.
We’d planned for a rest day in the city and it felt like the perfect opportunity to experience the work that Azizi Life do first hand. After being driven out to a small village called Cyeza, we spent a full day with the Abarikumwe Co-operative, a community of 9 women who work together to weave jewellery and baskets.
While we thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these incredible women, spending a day in their shoes was tough! From farming out in the fields, to ferrying water up from the local well to cooking and weaving, we all worked together and had an inspiring, memorable but not particularly restful day!
Next stop Kigali and a chance to meet some awesome digital and solar entrepreneurs! Only 50 hilly kilometres stand in our way!
During our run across Rwanda, we’re hoping to raise as much money as possible for the African Entrepreneur Collective. We’ve seen the impact they have on local entrepreneurs first hand and any little you’re able to give would be hugely appreciated