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  • Writer's pictureEveline Gonzenbach

From Dubai to Kigali: living in the Heart of Africa



Patrick and I have long envisioned retiring in South Africa, drawn to its vibrant atmosphere, stunning landscapes, and the overall allure of the country. It's remarkable how Patrick's job has unexpectedly paved the way for us to explore this beautiful continent in the heart of Africa sooner than we anticipated.


A Leap of Faith

Our journey embarked with a single decision - Patrick's new role at RwandAir. It was a leap of faith, a commitment to embrace change and embark on a new adventure together. A longstanding promise resonated within me; a commitment to stand by his side should his work ever lead us to relocate. The moment of truth arrived, and armed with excitement, we stepped into a new chapter, bidding adieu to the glamour of Dubai for the serene beauty of Kigali.


Green Impressions of Kigali

In the heart of Kigali, the first impressions were painted in hues of green, a lush landscape that stood in stark contrast to the desert panorama we left behind in Dubai. Rwanda's title as the "Land of a Thousand Hills" found its embodiment in the breathtaking natural beauty surrounding us. The mild climate and the locals' profound love for their environment radiated warmth in every conversation, swiftly revealing that we had landed in a place ripe for building meaningful connections.





Navigating Daily Life in Kigali

Procuring daily necessities posed a unique challenge, transitioning from a place where everything was readily available. The journey to discover where to find the products we needed became an adventure in itself, leading me through local markets and immersing me in the vibrant street culture.


Ensuring Safe Culinary Adventures

Preparing vegetables and fruits in a new country presented its learning curve, driven by the desire to savor local cuisine without any culinary hiccups. Fortunately, a friend, both a doctor and a work colleague of Patrick, became our culinary guide. He imparted the dos and don'ts of African food, ensuring our gastronomic adventures were both safe and delectable.



A Journey of Flavors and Views

Kigali's dining scene is a delightful mosaic of culinary experiences, boasting a range of excellent restaurants offering diverse menus. Patrick and I revel in discovering new dining spots, whether it's for a leisurely coffee, a delightful lunch, or an evening dinner. From cozy cafes to vibrant eateries, each location unveils its unique flavors and ambiance, inviting us to savor the city's culinary diversity and vibrant atmosphere. What makes these outings unforgettable is not just the flavors but the breathtaking views many of these venues offer, adding an extra layer of delight to our explorations while indulging in local delicacies or international cuisine. Exploring these culinary gems has become an exciting part of our time in Kigali.




Baskets and Cultural Reminders

When it came to decoration, my heart was captivated by the exquisite handcrafted baskets strewn across Rwanda. These baskets, with their diverse shapes and colors, tell a story of the country's rich cultural heritage. They seamlessly integrated into our home decor, becoming a cherished reminder of the beauty surrounding us.



Transformation Beyond Relocation

Our transition from Dubai to Kigali was not a mere relocation; it was a profound transformation. This journey invited us to embrace a new way of life, to appreciate the intrinsic beauty of nature, and to immerse ourselves in the warmth and culture of the Rwandan people. Each day unfolded with new discoveries and experiences in the heart of Africa. Challenges were embraced, victories were celebrated, and Kigali ceased to be merely a place to live - it became an integral part of our hearts. It felt as though our destiny was intricately woven into the fabric of this beautiful region, signaling a stay destined to extend across many years. And now, after two months, Kigali feels more like home than we could have ever imagined.


The Promise of Destiny

Please stay tuned; in my next blog, I will share the captivating details of my work adventure as a model in Kigali.

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