The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Kigali

hitchhiker kigaliOkay, so there’s been a few muggings in dark alleyways, and if you leave you’re iPhone at the local brochette place you probably won’t see it again, but guys? Kigali is no New York, okay? You won’t be killed and cut into pieces if you get into a stranger’s car. Nor will you be forced to perform any form of sexual favor if you decide to accept a friendly ride. I mean, don’t hold me to it, but after a year of hitchhiking, I have experiences nothing but jolly drivers (some of which I paid despite their relentless refusal to accept my money.)

For a fun and free way to get around the city, you may follow this mini-guide:

1. Be a girl. Or in the company of a girl… Or be a boy who looks really terribly awfully lost and sad and helpless.

2. If there’s a lone driver in the car, one of you should get in the front seat. This way you can keep up a friendly conversation while making the kind driver feel less like a taxi driver. (and also be in control of door locks, the music, machine guns hidden in the glove compartment, and rope and duck tape in the overhead shelf.)

3. Unless you got a ride with a married couple or a middle-aged mother (both those things have happened), the driver WILL ask for your number. If you’d like to keep in touch, there is obviously nothing wrong with handing out your number (many a friendship have started this way).

If you don’t feel comfortable sharing contact information, however, please plan in advance so you don’t end up acting rude and possibly getting yourself into an unfriendly situation. Why not make a point out of complaining about your ‘broken phone’ while you’re in the car? Or maybe state that the battery just went out to your hitchhiking buddy. When the driver asks for your number, give him a fake one (and a fake name while you’re at it.) Tell him to give you a missed call, so you’ll have his number, but remind him that (sadly) you’re phone’s turned off now, so you won’t be able to save it until you get home.

4. Don’t be suspicious and wierded out. Just be nice and confident, and all will go well!

About Inga

Born and raised in Norway, culturally transformed in the US, and now residing in Rwanda. Studied biology, but teaching English in Kigali while finishing up my Master's, and debating future career options. At the moment starting up a cocoa plantation is at the top of my list, closely followed by founding an improv society. Severely technologically challenged, but somewhat creatively gifted. A great lover of the Universe, as well as cakes and salt. A passionate hater of small concrete rooms.