No. 1 in Central Africa


Roto Tanks are number 1 in Central Africa, apparently. At least they are according to this quincaillerie in downtown Kigali. It’s not just in Central Africa they’re popular, but over in Ethiopia too – on roundabouts in the centre of Addis Ababa. I’d never heard of Roto Tanks before I moved to Kigali, but pretty much every decent-sized house, office, school and restaurant has one, sometimes two, sitting atop a small frame out the back, trying to be as unobtrusive as a 100 – 23,000 litre plastic box can be. It’s a Kigali essential – which brings me neatly to a list of home essentials for anyone thinking of moving to Kigali or already living here:

  • water filter – most of those on sale in Kigali are Chinese and not very good. The water tastes rank, but they get the job done.
  • water pump – when the tap dries up, you’ll need a pump (that works) so you can wash, cook, boil…
  • torch, candles and/or flashlight app (for iPhone owners) – you never know when the lights will go out. Or for how long.
  • cashpower – when the cash light’s low and grumpy face appears, it’s time to shell out on some cashpower. Buy it before grumpy arrives.
  • plugs – when the rains come, unplug everything. Lightning has already knocked out one modem and one wireless router in our place.
  • generator – It seems to depend on where you live. If you live in the wrong end of town, you’ll need a generator (that works).
  • gas – buy a spare tank (that works). It’s no fun running out of gas mid-way through cooking dinner. Believe me…

Everything else you can muddle along with. Having said that, I should also add that the list of things I wish I had brought with us, but never did, is quite long; pasta maker, various vegetable/herb/spice seeds, a medium sized Chinese supermarket, the entire contents of the top floor of Hamley’s, a decent buttery and a baker who knows how to make bread. Am I the only one sick of La Gallete? The list goes on… Please add as you see fit below.

Photograph taken from the Kigali Wire Moblog account

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