En route to Congo, a brief stopover at cold Kigali: A reporter's diary

Written By: Kartikeya Sharma WION
Kigali, Kigali City, Rwanda Updated: Feb 03, 2018, 04:10 AM(IST)

India is part of the UN peacekeeping mission in DR Congo. WION is going there to cover what the Indian peacekeeping force is doing for the people of the country. This is the first in the series of video dispatches. Watch this space for more. Photograph:( WION )

I got a chance to cover the peacekeeping mission in Congo, and I was excited. But to reach Congo in one piece was a challenge.
Journalists often don’t realise how privileged they are by being very close to the seat of power. I was part of the privileged lot when I got the opportunity to travel with former PM Manmohan Singh for the BRICS Summit to South Africa in 2013. It was a straight 10-hour flight from Delhi to Durban.
But this time, the deal was different.

I could see my subcontinent all around mixing with different nationalities of Africa

This time, we had to stop at four different airports to reach DR Congo’s neighbour, Kigali in Rwanda. Congo is still five hours away. But the journey was a revelation to me, especially the way it happened. Often such revelations don’t hit you when you travel with a delegation. I could see Indians all around. Some were going to Zambia and some to adjoining region. The person who came to pick me up from Kigali airport belonged to Nagpur.
Himanshu Hoode came to Africa four years back to make money. When I asked him why Rwanda, which was war torn two decades back, he said, “It is the safest place today and full of opportunities.”
I could see my subcontinent all around mixing with the different nationalities of Africa. They were not tourists or people resembling faces from TV channels. They were workers, businessmen, entrepreneurs and common people. Within this commonness, I felt extremely elevated. Lastly, Kigali is cold. I felt stupid thinking that I’m about to hit equatorial humidity. It is pleasant and there is chill in the air. I already feel welcome. 

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