Some of you have asked me what baby items are available in Kigali. I have been doing a bit of research on this for you and here is what I have found.
I priced out items at Nakumatt. This probably isn't the cheapest place to get baby supplies but it is going to be your most convienent place to get them. Nakumatt is sort of the closest thing we have to Walmart here in Rwanda. Don't get too excited. It is located right downtown in the Union Trade Center or UTC. You can't miss it. It's right at the top of the fountain round about. This is also were you will most likely go to exchange money.
A bit about that since some of you have asked. It is very easy to exchange money here. We use our visa or mastercard debit card at the Access Bank at UTC and basically debit if from our account. You can get Rwandan Francs this way. You can also request US dollars and then take them across the hall to the forex for a better rate. You will get about 597 RWF for each USD at the Forex. The exchange is not as good at the bank but it is less hassle. Keep in mind that they are going to withdrawal Euros so there will be additional charges on your account for that. You can use your debit card at some ATMs in town. We have not had luck with this and have friends who have been ripped off. Wouldn't really recommend it.
I would recommend bringing a few US one hundrend dollar bills with you. Make sure that they are crisp and 2006 or newer. Most places will only take RWF. Your hotel may take USD but I doubt debit or credit. Check with them when you book. A tour company (if you do a safari or something) would take USD as well. A few hundred will get you by until you can get to the bank and withdrawal more.
Now baby supplies-
Keep in mind that Emma is 4 so I have no experience with any of these products. I'm just looking at the shelf and seeing what is there. All my girlfriends here with babies use cloth diapers so I can't really speak to the quality of the diapers on the shelf. When we went to China to get Emma, we were told that the quality of the chinese diapers was terrible. So, what most families do to save luggage space is bring enough diapers for about 2 days and then plenty for the long flight home. We just used the local ones while at the hotel and around town. So glad we did. You might want to consider this plan too since the flight is very long and there is nothing worse than a blow out at 30,000 feet!
Here are the prices of some basic baby supplies:
Pampers Diapers 64 count 8-19kg=about $18.00US
Huggies Baby Wipes (I don't remember how many but not a very big package)=about $3.30US
Nestle Banana Infant Cereal 400g for 7months and up=about $6US
Formula 0-6months 800g=about $38.00
Formula 6 months and up 900g=about $45
Formula 6-12 months 400g=about $12
Baby food 12 months and up 250g (basic jar of baby food)=about $4.50
A few things that I brought to China that I'm sure would be useful here as well:
*Cheerios! Every kid loves cheerios. Emma was really sick when we got here and would only eat chinese noodles and cheerios. I put them in zip locks and then inside an art tube. The cheerios didn't get smashed and we used the tube later to bring home awesome art work.
*a baby carrier (ergo, etc)
*bottles with the drop in liners-this made it so much easier while traveling. I only had to clean the nipples in the hotel and on the flight home.
*bottle brush for cleaning the bottle nipples
*small rubbermaid bowl-something maybe shoebox sized. You will need to boil water in your hotel room. I used this in the sink with the boiled water to wash bottle nipples, spoons, bowls, etc. I also brought a travel size bottle of dish soap. you can use it for washing out clothes in the hotel as well. on the way home you can use the box to pack any fragile souveniors you bought!
*disposable spoons and bowls
*stacking cups are the best baby toy.
Also keep in mind that your baby is used to cloth diapers. You will want to bring gentle soaps and lotions.
I would also recommend some basic baby meds like infant tylenol, ear drops, teething tablets, infant liquid enema, etc. Emma was very constipated when we picked her up. We were so grateful that someone recommended enemas. I never would have thought of it! You can get most of these things here but it is not easy to find what you are looking for. Save yourself some stress and throw them in the suitcase. They are light and you will be happy you have them if you need them.
I mentioned La Sierra in most post about restaurants. It is also a fabulous little grocery shop. They have a pretty good supply of baby items there.
La Sierra is located near the Gorilla Roundabout downtown.
UTC is our "mall" you could say. It has Access Bank, Nakumatt, Bourbon Coffee, and several other shops. MTN, the main cell phone service, is located here as well. You can get a local sim card for your time here. Nakumatt is open 24hours if you have an emergency.