Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hotel-Office-Hotel Rwanda

All last weekend I was in Kigali providing support to the U.S. delegation in town on the margins of the African Union Summit. Observers, such as the United States, were not invited to the summer Summit this year, but the recent resurgence of violence in Juba meant that some senior State Department people had some urgent messages to deliver to various African leaders. So I came in, bringing my previous Summit experience, to help facilitate that.

It was a long weekend of long days, trying to organize meetings on iffy phone lines, manage the schedule, get notetakers to the right place at the right time, and other administrative things. There were long periods of waiting around punctuated with sudden rushes of activity. But one way or another things worked out. Thanks in part to me but mostly to the incredible efforts of Embassy Kigali, the United States got a lot of really important diplomacy done in a few short days.

With a hectic and unpredictable schedule I had no time for tourism. In fact, I did not get to see much of Kigali at all besides my hotel room, the embassy, and the road between them. I did not see the Rwandan Genocide Memorial or the Hotel Milles Collines, where the (mostly) real events of the film Hotel Rwanda took place. And I didn't get to see the famous mountain gorillas in the north of the country. That all just means I'll have to find some time to go back to Rwanda and see things properly, without a huge work event getting in the way.

At least I did get to see some pretty flowers and sunshine, a nice break from the rainy season going on in Addis right now.