Eyder Peralta

Updated at 7:15 a.m. ET Saturday

Some people walked hours to get to Shyira. They trekked down the steep hills that surround the small town in northern Rwanda last month not only to celebrate Liberation Day, but to get a close view of the country's president, Paul Kagame.

Out here, in West Pokot County, Kenya, the landscape looks like Mars — red clay, rocks, and in the distance, a mountain so bare it looks like a giant boulder.

Stephen Long'uriareng, 80, has walked two hours to bring her two cows and goats to this watering hole. It's really just a dam carved out the earth, where the rain water mixes with mud and turns into a dark brown color.

This is not the place Long'uriareng remembers from her youth.

"This whole place used to be green with a lot of pasture. There was nothing being experienced like drought," she said.

Shyira is a picture-perfect Rwandan village, surrounded by luscious green mountains. No matter where you look, even at the tip of some of the highest mountains and along the precipice of the most dangerous slopes, there are houses.

On July 4, while Americans celebrate their independence, Rwandans are celebrating Liberation Day — commemorating the day in 1994 when rebel troops marched into the capital Kigali and ended a genocide against the country's Tutsi minority.

There is a certain peace that comes with being surrounded by a bunch of men with big guns.

As much as you want to run or fight or scream, there's not much you can do — except whatever they say.

On a Friday afternoon in April, I was sitting in a restaurant in Juba, South Sudan's capital, trying to persuade two government officials to issue me press credentials so I could report there. I had tried and failed to do this over the phone from my home base in Nairobi, and so my bosses and I made the decision that an in-person appeal would be best.

Here's a classic scene from a telenovela.

It's the funeral of a very rich man whose heirs are battling over his fortune. An indignant woman says to a female guest: "You are disrupting the service. Who else would you be saving this seat for other than Richard Juma's second wife?"

Just after the sun rose on Wednesday, people began streaming into the Mombasa terminal station. There was a red carpet, a helicopter and Kenyans dressed in their very best attire, with shimmering fabrics and dazzling hats.

A little more than a hundred years after the British built a railway through their East African colony, Kenyans celebrated building one of their own.

Consolata Muvea took a bus more than 10 hours to come to Mombasa for the first time and she was entranced by the train waiting at the station.

The United Nations' top human rights official is condemning a chant by a pro-government youth militia in the small East African country of Burundi.

The chant is shown in a video recorded and distributed by the human rights groups iBurundi and RCP Burundi. The U.N. says the members of the militia, called Imbonerakure, are encouraging the rape of women from the opposition so "that they give birth to Imbonerakure."

Stella Nyanzi, one of Uganda's most controversial academics and activists, appeared in court Monday, after being arrested and charged Friday with cyber harassment and the misuse of a computer, for "shaming" the government.

Nyanzi's latest run-in with the 31-year-old regime of President Yoweri Museveni began with a fight for free sanitary pads for school-age girls.

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MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As soon as you set foot in any of the refugee camps along the South Sudan border in Uganda, a vast human suffering becomes easily apparent.

Nomadic herders are invading wildlife conservancies in Kenya's Rift Valley in search of pasture for their cattle. That's culminated in violence, as police move in to push the herders out.

But some local farmers say it's more complicated, that the cattle don't belong to the herders but to wealthy politicians, who are storing their wealth in cattle and laundering ill-gotten money through cattle.

The buses line up at the Invepi refugee camp in northern Uganda.

One after the other they drop off dozens of South Sudanese seeking refuge on this side of the border.

They come off carrying whatever possessions they still have: sometimes that means empty plastic jugs, sometimes it means chickens that provide food along the way. Many of the refugees are barefoot. When they've finished with their registration and vaccinations, some just sit there, staring into space.

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LAKSHMI SINGH, HOST:

Downtown Nairobi is a bustling scene of people darting across the road and a long line of matatus — little- and medium-sized buses — waiting for passengers.

John Macharia owns two of those buses and he loves the work. Matatus, he says, are essential to Nairobi.

But, Macharia says, they're often targeted by police for the smallest infractions.

The streets of Dadaab in northern Kenya are crowded with people and cars. You find refugees selling goats and shaving ice.

The biggest refugee camp in the world is basically a mega village. The mostly Somali refugees sell pots and pans and make colorful headscarves on manual sewing machines.

In one store, a group of refugees are having an intense conversation. It is, of course, about President Trump.

Kenya is gearing up for what will no doubt be a contentious presidential election this August.

The halls of the Kiambu County Hospital just outside Nairobi are empty. This is normally a bustling place but on Thursday entire wings are closed.

Only in the emergency room are there a scattering of patients. Moms with babies sit languidly on metal chairs. Men with broken bones and some with serious injuries are just hoping to be treated.

When he was in prison, Lorenzo Palma strongly suspected he was an American citizen. He had spent his whole life in the United States, and he knew his grandfather was born in El Paso, Texas, in 1914.

Palma had served five years for an assault conviction and was about to be released on parole, but immigration officials had stopped his release because they wanted to deport him. They said he wasn't a U.S. citizen.

A bipartisan group of four senators is calling for Congress to take a closer look at allegations that Russia used cyberattacks to try to influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.

The reports should "alarm every American," Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Jack Reed, D-R.I.; John McCain, R-Ariz.; and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said in a joint statement.

Just as the recount that he requested came to a conclusion, incumbent North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory conceded the gubernatorial election to Democratic state Attorney General Roy Cooper.

The Army Corps of Engineers has denied a permit for the construction of a key section of the Dakota Access Pipeline, granting a major victory to protesters who have been demonstrating for months.

The decision essentially halts the construction of the 1,172-mile oil pipeline just north of the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. Thousands of demonstrators from across the country had flocked to North Dakota in protest.

A police officer in Charlotte, N.C., will not face charges in the shooting death of Keith Lamont Scott.

Scott's death in September unleashed two days of unrest in Charlotte, when protesters took to the streets and in some cases threw objects at police and smashed windows.

R. Andrew Murray, the Mecklenburg County district attorney, said during a news conference Wednesday that he was "entirely convinced" that Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Officer Brentley Vinson "was lawful in using deadly force."

Donald Trump had a wide-ranging talk with New York Times journalists on Tuesday.

The president-elect disavowed the alt-right — a movement with views widely considered anti-Semitic and white supremacistand also dismissed concerns about his potential conflicts of interests. Times journalists live tweeted the meeting. Here are some highlights:

Danny Heinrich, a 53-year-old man who admitted to killing 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling in 1989, has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

As we've reported, Heinrich admitted to the murder almost three decades after Wetterling went missing.

The police officer who shot and killed Philando Castile in a St. Paul, Minn., suburb in July has been charged with second-degree manslaughter.

Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said the use of force by St. Anthony police Officer Jeronimo Yanez was not justified. A review of dashboard camera video revealed that "no reasonable officer" would have used deadly force in this circumstance, Choi said.

Army Pfc. Chelsea Manning is asking President Obama to grant her clemency saying she is requesting "a first chance at life."

Manning was sentenced to 35 years in prison after perpetrating one of the largest leaks of classified information in U.S. history.

Gwen Ifill, one of the most prominent political journalists in the country, has died, according to PBS. She was 61.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

The legalization of marijuana continued to expand as several states voted to legalize recreational and medical marijuana.

By a wide margin, California and Massachusetts voted to legalize recreational pot on Tuesday. Arkansas, North Dakota and Florida voted to legalize medical marijuana.

It's still too early to tell which way ballot initiatives in Arizona, Maine, Montana and Nevada will go. But the trend is positive for those in favor of legalizing marijuana and it's also part of a larger trend across the country.

Updated at 12:55 a.m. ET Wednesday

At least one person was killed and two others were critically injured in a shooting incident near two polling places in Azusa, Calif., on Tuesday.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, which has taken over the investigation, tweeted that the incident "does not appear to have any direct connection to the election/polling places."

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