27 December 2012

Rwanda: Region Embraces Festive Season

Kigali, Rwanda — At a junction on the main road to the Kigali city centre stands a huge Christmas tree.

The tree is about 12 feet high decorated in Coca Cola colors with its base surrounded by several gift boxes its sight putting passersby in the Christmas mood.

Kigali residents have been accused in the past by visitors of being 'cold hearted' to Christmas but it doesn't seem the case this year.

Once in the city centre, the normally relaxed streets are jammed with human traffic with thousands of people window shopping in Kigali's top shopping centers.

One such place is the Kigali Nakumatti supermarket, parents with their children are now a common sight checking out various items and enjoying some of the festive season discounts.

Huge home theatres entertainment systems are some of the items on offer for discounts as well as numerous wines and liquor brands.

The cashiers unlike on other normal days are busy and it's noticeably fast business at this time of the year.

Simba supermarket located just across the road from Nakumatt and the base of the Kigali city tours is equally mobbed by buyers.

That's on the high end of life, but back to the streets as well, Kigali streets which are normally void of heavy traffic in the evenings are parked with people buying stuff on the cheap end from street vendors outside the Kigali central market.

Young boys and girls vending cheap second hand clothes are seen cashing in on the fast business and there's no police in sight to chase them as is normally the case in a city where street vending is banned.

Farouk Zzimbe who runs a gift shop in the city says they are selling 300 cards on average per day while Flora Mutesi a florist says the demand for flowers has gone up hugely as people buys flowers for their loved ones.

"It's the first time am seeing Kigali this excited about Christmas," said Immaculate Uwakunda, a third year university student.

The billboards are advertising an up-coming East African party where major artists from the region will converge at the Amahoro stadium to entertain citizens.

Finally, Kigali can feel like having Christmas anywhere else in the region.

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