Haven’t posted in a while so a lot has happened…….
We went to Kigali for the weekend after our first week of work because we wanted some more time to check out the city. We stayed in a Youth Hostel called “Discover Rwanda”, it is run by an organization called AEGIS, which basically means it is run partly by genocide survivors. It seems like a pretty cool organization that runs all sorts of programs that support survivors from all backgrounds. It was nice to stay in a youth hostel because of the other youth as well, it was interesting to meet other travellers and learn about all the good spots to check out. We ended up going to a club on Friday night called KBC which was a lot like a club in Vancouver just with better dancing. Rogers and Cedric came out with us too and showed us how Rwandans party, and as a result we didn’t really get going on Saturday until about 2pm. Lama came and took us to a local market that had lots of used tools, used clothes and shoes, as well as spices, flours, and dried fish and meat. Later that night, Lama took us along with William, Cedric, and Rogers, to an old school reggae bar, which was pretty entertaining to say the least. Sunday we headed back to Gashora, which we soon realized feels like home.
The next week was a hard week of hot work. A few team members worked on the roof covering the patio of the Covaga weaving house. The “sky team”, as we call them, removed old sticks coving the patio and helped to build a new structure to support the new tin roof. Mayor is the contractor working on the roof and is now a part of our team, he quickly has planned and constructed a waterproof cover for the women so they can sit outside and weave, even when it is raining (which at this time of year is at least once everyday it seems). The rest of us worked mostly on digging holes moving huge rocks around and prepping the borders of the property for a new fence that will keep the chickens and goats out of the fields where we have planted onions along with the already planted cabbage and carrots (soon to be watermelon as well). It seems to be getting hotter everyday and the work gets harder, but the further we get on projects the more exciting it gets, to see what we have accomplished. Today the “sky team” painted the roof and it looks like they are pretty much done!!! Which is pretty amazing. We also put in and cemented a large section of fence posts.
This last weekend we woke up even earlier than we are used to during the week (which is really early) and met our safari driver, Claude, so that we could start our 2.5 hour journey toward Akagera Park. We knew that the park hosted a large array of animals but I don’t think we were prepared for the fields full of Giraffes and Zebras hanging out together, and the hippos and crocs swimming side by side. We also saw a bunch of Pumba looking like wart hogs and some bare bummed baboons. It was pretty crazy to see the open plains as the country is definitely known as the “land of thousand hills” for a reason. I often forget I am in the middle of Africa while I am here, because it already feels like home in Gashora, but the game in the park definitely snapped me back into the reality of where I am!
We have only been here for just over two weeks, but it definitely feels like a lot longer than that. The friends we have made so far, Rogers, William, Mayor, Cedric etc., will definitely not be easily forgotten. We are already thinking of ways we can come back or maybe bring them to us for a visit. I am excited for the next two weeks here but I am also trying to savour every moment, as I am nowhere near ready for it to end!
On Saturday I am going Gorilla trekking….wish me luck!
DWC Team Member
Rwanda, May 2012