Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sore Joints, Sore Muscles, Smiling Faces

Our first day in Gashora we were accompanied by students of KIST (Kigali Institute of Science and Technology) who have expressed interest in the development of the CIC. They presented the Covaga Women, the Nelson Mandela Education Centre and Developing World Connections, with a presentation about how to use the water hyacinth plant and different weaving techniques in the completion of the project. It was interesting to see the unique ways these creative and enthusiastic students applied traditional weaving mastered by the Covaga women to the building. We continued the day by taking a tour of the CIC work site. It is crazy to think that just over a year ago there was only a broken down foundation and now there is an almost complete building! We hope (fingers crossed!) to complete the building this month! After NMEC and KIST left the Covaga Women, the seven of us went into town and we all shared in Primus and Fanta at Le Bar Referrence. We were welcomed to Gashora with a song and dance preformed by the Covaga women, a very special experience indeed!

Our first work week brought us sore joints and muscles as we painted beams, sawed logs, hammered nails, crushed rocks, and made cement! The NMEC electricity students managed to give the building light on Wednesday and we started laying down the flooring on Friday! We eat lunch hosted in a local bar with the Covaga women who help with the work each day. Although shy on both sides, we are warming up to each other and trying to communicate better at lunch and during the work day. Language barriers can be so tough! Luckily we have the NMEC construction student graduates (who have now formed their own construction company) there to help with work and communication!

We have enjoyed goat brouchette, Primus, the beautiful landscape, the rain (very rare to have rain at this time of year but welcomed greatly for it cools things down a bit!), and the smiling faces of Gashora! This coming week we are invited to NMEC for the celebration of the handover of the school from the Green Helmets to the Rwandan government. We also hope to visit the Nyamata Memorial Site and the Girls Initiative School in Gashora to celebrate Canada Day and Rwanda's Liberation Day at the end of the week. And of course, we are looking forward for further progression of the CIC!


Robin Ripley

DWC Student Team Leader
Rwanda 2011

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