World of Pinlock:
Rwanda and Uganda
I love to travel. Even more, I love to travel to countries rich in history. Rwanda definitely fit the bill. I bought a ticket, rented a bike, put Uganda on the list and off I went!
Rwanda was hit heavily by genocide in 1994. I wanted to find out how the country managed to pick itself up after such a tragedy.
I talked to local people and visited memorials, museums, and mass graves. I only knew what I had seen on TV back in 1994, but the real story was something quite different.
The genocide was actually pre-planned. The international community was aware that it was going to happen and did absolutely nothing to prevent it. People fled the country, women were raped, many were injured and almost 1 million people died.
After 100 days a liberation front entered the country and stopped the militia committing these crimes.
Now, more then 20 years later the country has recovered and shows wonderful progress in economy, education, and infrastructure. The government demanded forgiveness from the people and urged them to forgive and move on. Remarkable really.
Of course, the country is still very poor and almost 60% of the population suffers from severe poverty. This is a common problem not only in Uganda but also in Africa in general.
Riding through this country, called ‘Land of a thousand hills’, I’m overwhelmed by the stunning landscapes, hills and enormous crater lakes (lot’s of volcanoes in this area). The roads are surprisingly good and motor biking here is a beautiful experience. Riding through the countryside every sense and smell is experienced. The sounds of the jungle riding through the rainforest are overwhelming: monkeys screaming and jumping out onto the road. A beautiful experience.
In the north of Rwanda, I have an extraordinary experience watching wild mountain gorillas – these things only happen once in a lifetime!
Heading into Uganda the landscape, country and people change. Ugandans are really friendly (Rwandans are a bit more detached) and curious.
I visited numerous national parks where they also let me ride my motorbike. It was extraordinary considering the amount of wildlife: lions, leopards, rhinos, and elephants. They didn’t like the sound of my motorbike; just as well I didn’t break down.
A remarkable travel experience!
Pinlock ambassador Robert van der Kolk