A trip to Kigali is not complete without 1. Ethiopian food 2. kitenge shopping.
I’m pretty in love with both and made two trips to Kimironko market last month for the latter. Kimironko can be hectic and a bit overwhelming and once I make my way past the fresh produce (and manage to shake off the 3-5 young men who are there to help you bargain, buy, and carry your groceries) and to the fabric section, it is still just as overwhelming.
But it’s also so beautiful and colorful and exciting. Over my past couple of trips I’ve befriended a family who owns a couple of stalls in the market. The mother, Dative, runs a kitenge stall and the father runs a men’s clothing stall. Dative’s two daughters, Marvelous and Ruth are lovely, bright, and friendly, just like their mother. Marvelous and Ruth also speak amazing English and they translate between Dative and I.
I met Ruth on my first trip to Kigali while I was haggling for some kitenge. She ran a tough bargain and was a great salesperson, but she insisted she wanted to be a doctor, not a saleswoman.
On my second trip to Kigali I was greeted at the fabric market with big hugs and smiles from Dative and gifted some beautiful fabric (and then of course I bought several more pieces of fabric).
Ruth joined me as I shopped around the market picking up earrings, scarves, bags and baskets as gifts for friends and family and I promised Dative I would come visit their home next time I am in Kigali. They happen to live near the Akilah Institute for Women campus so they were super excited to learn that I worked for Akilah!