Wednesday, 24 August 2016

A crowded country

One of the most striking things about Rwanda is the sheer number of people everywhere. It's one of the most densely populated countries in Africa with 12 million people squeezed into an area less than a tenth the size of New Zealand. My first real experience of this was at Nyabugogo bus station in Kigali, where it felt like all 12 million people were simultaneously catching a bus, hawking vegetables and begging. This photo was taken from a bus as it drove at speed through the station;  amazingly the crowd always managed to part in time and no one was run over.
In the countryside almost every square metre of land is cultivated or built on. It's very hilly - the Rwandans' nickname for their country, Land of a Thousand Hills, is a major understatement - so it's heavily terraced, and every roadside is crowded with people streaming to and fro between their homes, fields, schools and markets. 
With so many people about it's hard to take candid photos. Someone will always spot you and start talking loudly about the mzungu ("white man") with a camera, and even taking a surreptitious pee behind a tree is difficult. And if you want a quiet walk on your own, forget it. There's always someone who wants to keep you company.

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