Wednesday, August 31, 2011

July 16: Last few days in Gashora

~written July 2011 but unable to post due to poor internet connection in Rwanda

Our last days in Gashora were overwhelming and just flew by!

EXCITING NEWS! WE GOT THE FIRST WING OF THE COVAGA INNOVATION CENTRE COMPLETE! It took a lot of hard work from everyone; the Covaga women, the community volunteers, VCC, and we managed to help out a bit too! The last couple of work days saw us painting feverishly, carefully installing the glass into the windows and door frames, finishing up the setting of the floor and cleaning up the site. We enjoyed sharing lunch each day with the Covaga volunteers and our VCC friends! It was a great way to extend our bond with the Covaga women and encourage more cultural exchange. We have had some good giggles (usually the Covaga women laughing at us trying to speak Kinyarwandan! I would laugh too!) And we shared some good meals!

We have had a great couple of evenings here in Gashora, celebrating and enjoying each others' company before everyone goes their separate ways. We organized a hockey game for us to play with the Covaga women and other community members! It was a great evening topped off with a meal prepared by our very own work site manager in his home! We ate delicious cassava bread! We’ve also participated in some basketball games and a soccer game with teachers from two local schools. It was much fun and a great way to meet other members from the community. The games were usually followed by some beers, Fantas and friendly speeches and conversation.

We visited the local medical centre in Gashora during our lunch break one day as well. It was interesting to see and learn about other aspects of the town we were living in. We also visited the local genocide memorial in Gashora. It was an insightful experience, and meaningful, because we worked with the people directly affected by the genocide that was represented by this memorial. That was overwhelming but necessary.


We visited the beautiful Musanze region of Rwanda (gorilla territory!!!) on our last weekend in Rwanda. Fortunately, two of our participants were able to actually go see the gorillas! They said it was worth every penny! Musanze is a very different region than the Bugasera region we were working in. It has volcanoes and mountains, lush forests and is SO GREEN. Bugasera is dry, and flat, yet has its own charm too, especially Gashora which is right on the lake! It was good to see the vast difference in landscape that the tiny country, Rwanda, has to offer.

On our very last day in Gashora, we held a small lunch celebration to say thank you and goodbye to our Rwandan hosts! It was a sad day, but a beautiful one! We exchanged gifts, shared food and Fantas, snapped lots of photos, hugged, and said goodbye to Covaga and Gashora (well, at least for now…) The connection that we made with the Covaga women, the Vision Construction Company, and the community I am sure will stick with us for a very long time!

Murakoze (thank you) Gashora! Until next time!

Robin Ripley

DWC Team Leader
Rwanda 2011

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