Home Hotel guest A gift shop where everything is free, a volleyball court SUE REID sees Rwandan housing

A gift shop where everything is free, a volleyball court SUE REID sees Rwandan housing

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The smiling, well-dressed staff at Rwanda’s Hope Hotel are eagerly awaiting their next – rather unusual – group of guests about to arrive from Britain.

This week, as long as the government wins various legal challenges, visitors checking into the smart reception will be migrants deported from the UK after illegally crossing the English Channel on dinghies.

“We want to make them happy here,” Bakini Ismael, 34, general manager of the 50-room property in Rwanda’s capital, Kigali, said yesterday. “We will welcome them as if they were paying guests on vacation in Africa.

“Everything is ready for them. We will distribute cigarettes for free and we will have built nice gazebos in the garden where they can smoke, because we want them to have pleasures in life.

Migrants will be served three meals a day prepared by a Rwandan chef in a smart white uniform

It will be a far cry from the UK deportation centers where the 150 migrants on the ‘no right to be in the UK’ deportation list are being held in tight security after being detained by UK police. immigration.

Under a contentious deal between Britain and Rwanda, migrants from countries including Somalia, Sudan, Albania, Iran, Iraq and Vietnam will travel 4,000 miles on a private charter plane from London to the East African country where they will land on Wednesday morning. They will be transported by bus half an hour from Kigali airport to the Hope Hotel, a well-appointed modern building, with a four-story floor-to-ceiling atrium, set in lush green lawns dotted with jacaranda trees and surrounded by boxwood hedges. .

There, migrants will sleep in twin rooms with double beds covered with mosquito nets, colorful rugs on the floor and a set of slippers in the side tables.

At each bedside there is a panoply of shower gels and soaps, as well as a list of telephone numbers allowing them to call the hotel manager, find an interpreter or obtain medical help at any time of the day. day or night on the mobile phones given to them on arrival.

In the hallway is a “suggestion box” where they can complain if they don’t like the way they are treated or if they find something wrong with the hotel service. There is also a range of newly installed washing machines for them to clean their clothes.

The British government must pay £60 a day for accommodation for each migrant

The British government must pay £60 a day for accommodation for each migrant

But none of the guests will have to clean or scrub the dishes after eating in the spacious restaurant. There are staff to take care of it. Migrants will be served three meals a day prepared by a Rwandan chef in a smart white uniform who is an expert in preparing halal dishes suitable for Muslims.

Their free time has also been taken into account, with a volleyball court being built next to the hotel. “We will offer them everything they could wish for,” Mr. Ismael said.

This certainly rings true. New computers have been installed in special ‘business’ areas, so customers can keep in touch with family and friends in their home country or in the UK. There are two prayer rooms and a gift shop where everything will be given away for free: from cigarettes to boxer shorts and white t-shirts.

“We will do everything to make their stay pleasant,” added Mr. Ismael, with a smile. The UK government is to pay £60 a day for each migrant’s accommodation as part of the £120m deal to ‘outsource’ asylum processing to climate-friendly Rwanda Mediterranean and green countryside.

A Rwandan government spokesperson said: “Migrants coming from your country will not be locked up. You don’t do that to guests.

“They will not be prisoners, but will be able to leave and enter the Hope Hotel whenever they wish.”

Once their asylum status has been decided, and if they obtain the right to settle here, the migrants will have to leave the hotel definitively to go and live among and like other Rwandans.

The asylum process in Kigali is expected to take less than four months – significantly faster than the overburdened UK system where tens of thousands of people languish, often for years, in hotels, hostels and rented rooms.

In addition to the Hope Hotel, two others in Kigali – the Rouge by Desir with a swimming pool and rooms with balconies offering stunning views of Rwanda’s mountains, and the Hallmark with 20 villas with private gardens – have been reserved by the British government until ‘in October.

Migrants will sleep in double rooms with double beds covered with mosquito nets and a list of phone numbers so they can find an interpreter or get medical help at any time

Migrants will sleep in double rooms with double beds covered with mosquito nets and a list of phone numbers so they can find an interpreter or get medical help at any time

At Rouge by Desir, general manager Denis Bizimungu said: “We will welcome these migrants with open arms. We will try to make them forget the problems that made them leave their country.

“We want to make sure that the idea of ​​crossing the sea by boat never comes back to them. We want their hearts to be filled with joy in Rwanda.

“Under this agreement with Britain, all costs of their stay are paid for by your government.”

Yet despite what will be a pampered life in the sun for the illegal migrants, their deportation is causing furious bickering in the UK.

Prince Charles has reportedly said the forced deportation to Rwanda was ‘appalling’, the UN Refugee Agency says it violates human rights and a range of pro-migration charities, with The help of left-leaning lawyers, are challenging tomorrow’s departure flight in the highest courts in the land.

One of the issues campaigners will raise is the danger of British deportees contracting malaria in Rwanda.

Kigali's Hope Hotel to house first refugees sent to Rwanda from Britain

Kigali’s Hope Hotel to house first refugees sent to Rwanda from Britain

Malaria, caused by mosquito bites, claimed 700 lives there in 2016, a figure that fell to 148 in 2020 as the country of 13 million people fought the disease with insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

It has the 15th highest incidence

of malaria in the world, but thanks to free national medical service health campaigns and the latest treatments, only accounts for 1% of malaria deaths in the world.

Many of the migrants listed for deportation come from countries, such as Sudan, where the death toll from malaria is significantly higher than that of Rwanda.

The Daily Mail was shown around the Hope Hotel by Rwandan officials tasked with making migrants feel at home but said they had no idea how many would arrive.

“We are in close contact with the Home Office in London and we know that court hearings could take place up to the time the flight takes off, so the numbers could go down,” said one. them.

He added: ‘When the plane takes off, your government will send us a manifest of the passengers on board. If there are more than 100 people that can be accommodated at the Hope Hotel, the other two hotels are ready to take the extras.

He revealed that five hotels could finally be made available to illegal Britons once the Rwandan scheme is fully underway. The Hope’s motto – written in large letters on the front door – reads: “Come as a guest, leave as a friend.

“We hope that will be the case,” says Mr. Ismael as he greets us after our visit.

Along the road to the busy mall, Rwandans wait for migrant customers to visit and spend some of the weekly cash allowances granted to them by the Ministry of Interior.

“We were told they would come here because we are so close. They can buy SIM cards, bananas, everything is here,” said a man named Pierre outside a pharmacy and a small grocery store.

There is a cafe, a bottle shop and women’s hairdressers. Further down the street are roadside fruit and vegetable stalls.

“We already call it the Happy Hotel,” adds Pierre, in his fifties. “We hope that Rwanda will be good for your migrant people, and good for us too.”