It would seriously be much more sanitary, comfortable, and probably safer. Or if you have a death wish.
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It's about an hour busride away from any of the parts of Portland that are worth going to. The area isn't necessarily unsafe, but my girlfriend and I heard or saw at least 4 police cars during the week we stayed here Don't expect: wi-fi that works, maid service, alarm clock or breakfast but there is a cheap Mexican restaurant next door that's actually pretty good, and a across the street.
Expect: ants. It wasn't a huge infestation or anything and they were pretty tiny, but if you're anything like my girlfriend you may not like them. Staying at this motel was a nightmare. First off, the motel is located on a very busy street that seemed to have a lot more leg traffic after dark. After checking in with the person behind the desk they seemed rude and like they didn't want to be there. The room was very small and smelly The bed sheets had spots that where discolored and rough on them.
After hearing the third siren go by, I decided that this was not a place for me. Flights Vacation Rentals Restaurants Things to do.
Tip: All of your saved places can be found here in My Trips. Log in to get trip updates and message other travelers. Profile Join. Log in Join. Do you like to live dangerously? Del Rancho Motel. Lowest prices for your stay. Guests 1 room , 2 adults , 0 children Guests 1 2. Show Prices. Like saving money? We search up to sites for the lowest prices. Review of Del Rancho Motel. More Show less. Date of stay: August Trip type: Traveled with friends. See all 5 reviews. Nearby Hotels. Dar-Ron Motel.
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Write a Review. Filter reviews. Thoughts about the genocide are immediate, issues relating to it the subject of all initial conversations. On our first night with PSI staff members, at dinner by the lovely, palm-tree shaded pool of the Kigali Serena Hotel, we quickly learned the protocol for discussing the topic. One, make no mention in any conversation, ever, to Hutus or Tutsis; the operative philosophy here, at President Kagame's uncompromisingly enforced instruction, is "one Rwanda," and any comment drawing attention to ethnicity can be severely punished. The enforcement methods are later described to me as sometimes "heavy-handed," and it reportedly doesn't take much to be accused of being a genocidaire —one who partakes of sectarian genocidal ideology.
Two, do not ask anyone what happened to them during the genocide. Consider the door to have been opened. You refrain from asking, but you think about it nonetheless, every time you look at anyone older than a teenager. That waiter over there, the hotel manager, the barman—what did they do during the genocide? Rwanda is now considered almost entirely crime-free. Jack Driscoll, a former New York City police officer in charge of security for the actress Ashley Judd Judd, a PSI board member and spokesperson for its YouthAIDS program, is traveling with us for part of the time , tells us that "it's now the safest country in Africa," and he makes it his business to know.
Yet the experience of violence here has spared no one: People had family members killed, or saw killings, or were killers themselves. The conditions created by this apocalypse are, of course, what makes Rwanda such needy ground for organizations like PSI. A staggering number of households, some 42,, are now headed by children. Many people are crazy. We have our own figuring out to do, our own coming to terms with where we are.
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The plan is to see the sites associated with the genocide, and then to move on—to observe, as we travel across the country, the progress being made, the signs and intimations of Rwanda's fast-developing and brighter future. I get my first good look at Kigali in the morning, on the way to the Kigali Memorial Center, Rwanda's version of a Holocaust memorial. It is a picturesque city on hills, less city than large town, each hill densely covered with small, low dwellings, a few higher buildings visible here and there.
There's a reddish tinge to everything from the clay soil; many secondary roads and paths are unpaved, but the streets are trash free. Plastic bags have been banned you may have yours confiscated upon arrival at the airport. Safety rules are strict—seat belts are mandatory, as are helmets, worn by the drivers of all of Kigali's ubiquitous, smartly painted green-and-yellow motorcycle taxis. Many people are carrying the yellow plastic jerry cans for water that we will later see everywhere in the countryside—even here in the capital, many residents do not have running water in their homes.
At the memorial, which opened in , we absorb the impact of the genocide—time lines, objects, photographs, clothing, filmed interviews with survivors. No one said anything," one young woman recounts for the camera, her Kinyarwanda subtitled in French and English. It was as if we had moved to another planet.
After lunch in Kigali, we drive to Nyamata, where the Catholic church was the site of a massacre. The two-lane highway is lined with people walking—the unending processions we see everywhere, men, women, and, predominantly, children. Sixty-seven percent of Rwandans are under the age of 25, and women have an average of six children each, a massive overpopulation problem that the government is aggressively trying to tackle.
Ten thousand people in the area, including thousands who had taken refuge in the church, were slaughtered. What had seemed a safe haven proved to be just the opposite—here and in a number of other churches and places of public assembly throughout Rwanda.
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Because of the well-documented instances of the Catholic Church's complicity in the genocide, church membership has fallen from 85 percent before to 56 percent today. The bodies in the church had been allowed to dry up, the bones had been removed and "buried" on shelves and in coffins in catacomblike structures dug below ground at the rear of the building, which some of us descend to inspect—stacks of bones, rows upon rows of neatly arranged skulls, many of them of children, many with entire sections missing, sliced off by machetes.
But the articles of clothing remain in the church proper, thousands upon thousands of them, piled on the pews—shredded, blood-stained reminders of what occurred here and what the regime does not want Rwandans ever to forget. On the way back to town, we're focusing on the positive. Like the road, for instance—new, smooth, bordered on both sides along its entire length by carefully constructed water-runoff troughs attractively paved with stones.
I can't think of when I've seen a road so manicured.
You sense a willingness here. That night, we're somewhere in a field on the outskirts of Kigali, to witness a PSI Cinemobile presentation—the screening of a short film to an audience with no access to radio, television, or newspapers. It feels like we're in the middle of nowhere, but we are assured that this is actually a football field and that there are dwellings near here, invisible in the profound darkness. Loud music is blasting from speakers that have been set up on either side of the mobile screen, and the kids are dancing, are being put in a party mood by a "facilitator," Bosco, a PSI employee.
Hands are in the air, feet are pounding, stirring up the dry dirt. I am quickly transported and relieved by the joy and excitement of this young crowd. They are having fun; everyone else today seemed so sad. The Cinemobile message is about the need to administer the anti-malarial medication coertem marketed here as Primo to children under the age of five within 24 hours of their developing a fever.
Wait longer than that and the malaria can become fatal. Why the young, overwhelmingly male audience? That's how life is here. And remember, some of these kids may in fact be heads of families. Astonishingly, every square foot of these hills nary a power line in sight is cultivated, sculpted into thousands of little fertile terraces and gardens—bananas, tea, coffee the last two the main source, for now, of Rwanda's foreign exchange.
It's a picture of careful, close, necessarily cooperative human husbandry. We'd flown early that morning from Kigali east to Kirehe, near the borders of Tanzania and Burundi, in the company of Rwanda's handsome, energetic, surprisingly plainspoken minister of health, Dr. That evening, he will try to persuade the general manager of our hotel that condoms should be part of the in-room amenity kit—"What if I want to have sex with someone other than my wife? Our mission in Kirehe is multi-targeted.
We inspect a comptoir "counter" pharmacy, as remote village dispensaries are called, to get a sense of the local distribution of PSI products. The young pharmacist behind the counter of the tiny, single-room shop shows us his stock of Tuzanet, long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets the leading weapon against this Eden's endemic snake, malaria ; the Primo anti-malarial medication for children; and Sur'Eau, PSI's water-purification liquid, all endorsed by the government and widely available in the Rwandan countryside, either sold at highly subsidized prices for those who can afford them or distributed free to the most "vulnerable" a euphemism in Rwanda, I come to realize, for the HIV-positive or those who lost income-earning spouses or parents in the genocide.
I am struck at every turn by how hands-on this government is. We tour a health center's postpartum room. Ntawukuliryayo does not miss any opportunity to drive home the family-planning message. Why did she have this baby? The older woman issues a mumbled, embarrassed answer, eyes downcast. The cross-generational exchange sounds universally familiar; it might have been the father or uncle or doctor of an American teenager talking. What is different and eye-opening is that this is a government minister speaking, addressing, aggressively and in a bracingly grassroots manner, an endemic African problem—not just overpopulation but the large-scale sexual exploitation of women.
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And a man can go to prison for twenty-five years if he's convicted of raping a girl under twenty-one. Ntawukuliryayo tells me as we walk out onto the clinic's porch, dozens of young mothers and babies waiting for their turn with a health worker. Bishops, they have everything from the Church—clothes, food. People here can't wait for someone, something from above to provide for them. They have to have smaller families. We won't manage otherwise. An hour later, we are seated on chairs in a field, observing the festivities and speeches of the ninth annual National Malaria Day, with a crowd of dignitaries, health workers, and some men, women, and children seated in the grass all around.
There are dances—as on almost every public occasion in rural Africa—poetry recitation, speeches, skits deriding ne'er-do-well husbands too drunk to seek proper care for their sick children. This is good, but it is not enough," says the governor of Eastern Province.
He looks at the men in the crowd: "Fathers, you must give the nets to your children, not to yourselves.
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Ntawukuliryayo's turn at the microphone—"I tell you, do not act like dogs…or you will end like dogs. In Rwanda today, this is no idle threat. Driving along the narrow red-dirt paths of the countryside—neat little mud-brick single-room dwellings bordered by hedges, yards swept immaculately clean, clothes drying on bushes—we are struck by the total absence of dogs.
In the course of the entire week, in a country of subsistence farmers, we do not see a single dog, hear not one bark. Dogs had fed on corpses and had been killed after the genocide. It takes an hour by chopper to cross the entire country, west from Kirehe, flying over Kigali and on to Gisenyi recently renamed Rubavu. Rwanda is truly "finger of God" country, with majestic, big-sky clouds parting every now and then and shafts of sunlight descending from heaven to the green earth. We spot enormous Lake Kivu in the distance, the frontier between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo splitting it invisibly down the middle, and, as we draw closer, the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel, where we'll be spending the night.
Gisenyi has a run-down, Graham Greene—ish atmosphere, a s African resort town that time and the world, until recently, forgot. But the Lake Kivu Serena is grandly comfortable and welcoming. Now we get American adventure travelers who stop here on the way to the gorillas"—as we are doing. I can see why. There's a pool and a pretty, albeit not white, beach with blue-and-white-striped canvas umbrellas and chaise longues. Two windsurfers are plying the waters, their chartreuse sails in sharp contrast, in more ways than one, to the dark, late-afternoon outlines of hills just five minutes away by car—that's Goma over there, and the DRC.
Ashley Judd will be heading over the border tomorrow, to inspect some PSI-supported clinics for women undergoing genital reconstruction. Rapes in the Congo by the militia bands are unprecedented in their scope and bloodcurdling viciousness—hundreds of thousands of women have been affected.
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The last Saturday of every month in Rwanda is Umuganda—community service day. It is Saturday, April 26, and we are having a "when in Rwanda, do as the Rwandans do" moment, hoes in hand, working alongside Dr. Ntawukuliryayo to level a patch of ground in a village near Gisenyi, preparing the site for three new houses.
Widows, families headed by teenagers, poor people. Umuganda was a centuries-old Rwandan tradition but has been made mandatory since If you are walking along a road between 8 A. It is forced labor from one perspective, but it is also an inspired way to foster ethnic rapprochement—neighbor working for neighbor, tribal affiliation notwithstanding and, of course, unspoken. There are many people at this work site, wielding hoes, shovels, machetes.
A young man holds out his hand and asks for my hoe; that's the protocol—you work, then someone else relieves you for a while, then you jump in again. His name is Emmanuel, and he's an English teacher at the local high school. Emmanuel can't believe he's digging dirt alongside some muzungus white people from the United States. You live in New York? How can I get to New York? Work done, fresh calluses sprouting on the palms of our hands, we have more stops to make before heading out to gorilla country.
We will be doing "data collection. In this instance, PSI employees are to determine if the Tuzanet mosquito nets are being correctly deployed, if there is an adequate supply of the water purifier Sur'Eau given the number of household members , if it's being used consistently, and whether any children have had fever or diarrhea lately it's a cholera-prone area, and there has been a recent outbreak. In the home of Maridina Marie Galette, the lady of the house holds a sick four-week-old infant in her arms and finds it difficult to speak—who can blame her, with all these strangers crowded around?
When his mother, in response to a question, whispers that she has four children, he corrects her: A fifth, her eldest, died recently. The system of justice he is referring to is called Gacaca pronounced ga-CHA-cha. While the Rwandan version of the Nuremberg Trials—the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, based in Arusha, Tanzania widely considered perversely ineffectual, with only 30 convictions handed down since —attempts to punish the genocide's masterminds and those accused of mass killings, the majority of genocidal acts are tried, for expediency's sake, under the traditional Gacaca system of village justice.
Each case is presided over by 15 elders of the community and in the presence of some community members.