About the food of Rwanda

Lake Muhazi. Photo by Dewame louis.

I’m writing about Rwanda while sitting in the airport, on my way to New York City. Big things are in the works, and I can’t wait to tell you all about them. This is a fertile time for creativity, which makes Rwanda the perfect week to accompany me on this journey.  The earth in this small, but sprawling country is so fertile, I’ve read you can stick a carrot top in the ground and carrots will grow.

That’s the kind of good, growing energy I need right now.

This is the center of Africa, along the rippling waters of Lake Kivu. Everyone, everywhere in Rwanda, seems to love the sweet potato  [Recipe]and that’s a lot of people. Rwanda is one of the most crowded places in Africa. Avocados hang heavy on the trees, and cassava grows strong in the soil.  Beans are the go-to, as is umutsima (cassava and corn porridge), fish from the lakes (like tilapia), and plantains.

Very little meat is eaten, although what is enjoyed includes chicken, beef, and goat, and may be stewed with some combination of tomatoes, onion, peppers, and peanuts [Recipe].

Children on a farm in Rwanda. Photo by Sarel Kromer.

Beer is a popular drink and, according to the World Cookbook for Students:

Beer is a favorite drink for men and a way to exchange services. Much of the beer consumed is homemade from sorghum (ikigage) or bananas (urwarwa). Traditionally, beer is drunk through straws from a common large container.

Speaking of banana beer, I’d like to drink some while nibbling plain-ol’ bananas. Just for effect.

Perhaps with a few other tropical fruit because, from what I hear, Rwanda has it made  [Recipe]!

I’ll be dreaming of all this simple goodness while sitting in the air, nibbling a tiny pack of peanuts and a V8.



  1. Brian S. says

    Rwanda is at the southeast corner of a forgotten nameless region that also encompasses northeast Congo, Uganda, and South Sudan. It’s a rugged harsh unforgettable land with swamp, jungle and volcanoes, cattle-herding nomads, giants and pygmies. It’s the least developed part of Africa. Sadly it was, toward the end of the twentieth century, the site of the biggest genocide of modern times (not counting World War II). NINE MILLION people were murdered. And the world ignored it! Still, the peoples survived and the land still blooms.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Humans are, indeed, like flowers. Ever blooming. Ever striving. Thanks, Brian!

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