Thursday, May 30, 2013

Baking Cakes in Kigali

There are books that you just have to share and Baking Cakes in Kigali is one of them. This book by Gail Parkin is set in contemporary Rawanda. Like many people I have seen the movie, Hotel Rawanda, and read the various reports, and the big question is how do you build a country after such bloodshed. How do you forget, forgive, move on? What is it like to live in such a place?
The heroine.of the book, Angel, is married to one of the many people brought into the country to help with the rebuilding. She too is African but from Tanzania. One reason her husband has left his university position to come to Kigali, is due to a bigger salary, which they can use. as they have been left to bring up their five grandchildren as both their own children have died. I bet you are thinking this already sounds depressing. They live in an apartment complex populated by a wide variety of foreigners who have come to help, most paid and some paid.
Angel has a profession, she bakes cakes. She ends up baking cakes for the other residents of the complex but also for a variety of Ugandans. She also won't bake a cake for you unless you tell her your story. And these are fascinating interwoven stories. In a way it's a tricky concept considering the setting, but I think with the author's knowledge of Africa she pulls it off. I kind of also love the fact that my friend, Val, lent me the book and she was given it by a woman, working in the German consul in Rawanda, whose son was staying with Val while going to school in Montreal. I totally recommend this book to all!

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