Leonie Warcomika

Leonie Warcomika

2 weeks in! Well almost…

 Posted by Leonie Warcomika at 3:30 am  Rwanda  Comments Off on 2 weeks in! Well almost…
Oct 102013


Before I begin I again apologize for the writing style, I have so many things I want to talk about so it’ll be verbal diarrhea on a page! I am also very limited on time so this will be very quickly written.

Ok, so we left on the first day of the volunteering. The first week was pretty disappointing in terms of volunteering to be completely honest, they wanted us to get settled in but that meant very little work & we found ourselves asking for something to do. In terms of things to do however it was very exciting! We took many motor taxi’s, met women who are part of savings & loans, looked around markets, went to genocide memorials, learnt more of the language, went shopping, met the founder of FVA… phew!

Meeting the founder

Meeting Emaculee was wonderful, she picked us up from the guest house & took us to her church (which was a crazy experience!) then took us out to lunch at an american diner. There she told us about how she set up fva, this is her story.

Emaculee is a Dr & after the genocide when she was working in the hospital she found many people in need of help but not just medical unfortunately there were so many people she couldn’t sit down & talk to any of these people, which is what they needed, so she decided to create a space where they could receive some counseling & get a helping hand in rebuilding their life.

Emaculee enlisted Willy who is now the executive director of fva so she could continue her work as a doctor.


Willy is amazing! At one point during the first week he came & sat down with me to ask me how I was finding the program & to get to know me better. We spoke for a while & when he found out that I had been a fundraiser & fundraising manager he got so excited! He asked me to help with the fundraising program in any way possible so I proposed the idea of fundraising for them overseas so they could get long term monthly donations in & he asked for help with online fundraising. I have a meeting with him, Emaculee & victor (head of fundraising)  on monday. Wish me luck!!


My volunteer coordinator is Sonia Mutoni & I adore her. Not only is she our support she is also a friend, she has helped us through getting lost in Kigali, our pronunciation of words, teaching us about Rwandan culture & she has always been there to have a laugh & make us feel comfortable. I really have no idea what I would do without her. Our beautiful, kind, compassionate Sonia <3


I realise I haven’t writted about this week or anything that you would care about, oh boy digression! This week was much better, we finally got stuck in & my project at the moment as well as fundraising is helping women market their jewellery, we decided to attach the stories of the women to separate their jewellery from others & I plan to go around to business & get their jewellery in there. Wish me luck!

On Saturday we went to 2 genocide memorials & I really want to take the time to talk about them as they are so heartbreaking.

Note; this will be difficult to read but it is so important that you do.


Ntarama is a church where 5000 people where killed. People fled to the church thinking that as it was a sacred building the Interahamwe & killers would let them be. They were wrong. First the bombed them with grenades then they walked in & killed them with clubs, machetes, spears & other weapons. Whilst they were killing the people in the church other killers walked into the sunday school where the children were hiding, they picked up the children by their legs & smashed their heads into a wall, there is still brain matter on the wall today. In Ntarama, they have left all the clothes of the victims on the pews, they have coffins full of 50 people & shelves full of skulls & bones. The only thing they have done to the church is put sheets of metal up around it to protect the buildings but other that that nothing has changed.


Nymata is another church about 5 minutes drive away from Ntarama, again people thought that if they sought sanctuary in the church they would be safe. 10,000 people died here. The church was so full that the interahamwe could not physically get in so they threw grenades 7 started shooting blindly. When the majority where dead they climbed over the bodies in search for those still alive, mainly children, & they killed them with machetes & clubs. Just like Ntarama the clothing is left on the pews. There is a downstairs cavern that was created after the genocide in the church where there are a few bones & a big coffin which holds one body. This body is of a very special lady, she was 24 when she died & she is a symbol of strength to the Rwandan people. She was firstly raped by over 20 men & once they were done with her they got a spear, shoved it up her private parts & through her skull. She was Sonia’s grandmothers neighbor & she knew her well.

After walking around the church they take you into the mass graves which is as horrible as it sounds. You walk down stairs to coffins full of 100+ people each & 2 walls covered in skulls, you are enclosed in it & as shamed as I am to admit it I couldn’t handle this, the sights & the smell. That smell will stay with me for the rest of my life & as I said I couldn’t handle it, I just broke down & left although this did lead to a beautiful moment with a Rwandan lady who upon seeing me crying she stopped what she was doing, came up to me & tapped her heart. She understood what I felt even though I could never comprehend how she felt.


Humbled & nervous!

 Posted by Leonie Warcomika at 7:56 am  Rwanda  Comments Off on Humbled & nervous!
Oct 022013

So far I have been in Rwanda for a grand total of 2 days & already it has been more emotionally testing then I could possibly have conceived. After I landed in Kigali & said goodbye to my new fabulous rwandan friends (& of course exchanged emails) I met Sonia the wonderful lady we’d all been corresponding with to make this possible & i was then whisked off to the guest house, a beautiful house where I met my fellow volunteers & our surrogate mum kaytassa. Ah mum, this wonderful lady has the job of looking after the guest house & it’s inhabitants. Kay has to be the most fabulous cook ever & never thinks you’ve eaten enough!

After orientation we were taken to the office to meet the staff & some of the people we will be working with. We then realised how huge the language barrier is & suddenly everyone working community outreach bricked it! How can we possibly gain these ladies trust when they can’t understand a word we’re saying?! I guess we’ll find out…

next we were taken for a lunch of cassava leaves, rice & veggies & then it was off to the Rwandan genocide memorial. A lot of you know that I have read & researched all about the atrocities in Rwanda but let me tell you, nothing can prepare you for this. As you walk around learning more about the genocide it slowly takes the tour on a more personal level. First there are facts, then there are video interviews with survivors, then pictures of the people who had been murdered the old & young alike which is heartbreaking enough however after this you are led into a room full of skulls & bones of the deceased, some riddled with bullet holes other with huge fractures where they had been hit by a machete. Never in my life have I openly sobbed so much before. Once you’ve recovered yourself you are taken into the children’s memorial which is filled with pictures & information about said child ie:

Age; 5

best friend; brother

died; bashed against a rock (genuinely read)

The most incredible thing about the Rwandan people is there capacity to forgive. Once the genocide was over instead of committing vengeance killings the people let the killers talk, confess their sins & finally they forgave them. This isn’t to say they went unpunished.  I have a lot of respect for the Rwandans, they are truly incredible people & we have a LOT to learn from them.

Wow I feel like I’ve written a lot!  If you’re still reading even with the terrible sentence structure good on ya!

Today was a happier day, we went to meet the children faith victory works with & they are darlings! They loved the cameras & the sunglasses & even meeting muzungas (white people) after a short while myself & the other community outreach volunteer went to the market & farms to meet some of the women we will be working with & they were amazing! These women have built up small businesses from nothing & are now prospering! Women that have set up vegetable market stores to phone charging booths to women making beautiful jewellery out of paper in the evening & farming in the morning! I truly cannot wait to get stuck in.

After all the excitement we were given our final task. To get home on public transit. ahh! Now for those of you who are unaware the roads here are madness, Rwandans have no fear. Cars will overtake motor taxis even though they can see a truck speeding towards them, motor taxis will weave in & out of cars as fast as they can & both will go on the footpath whilst all the while pedestrians will be casually strolling across the street of speeding cars & motorbikes without fear of getting hit! Complete insanity. after an eventful bus ride I rode my first motor taxi which is when you sit on the back of the morbike & speed home. This has to be the most exhilarating experience of my life, honest to god these guys have no road signs & no speed limits they just do what they want.

I really cannot believe I’m here & if these first couple of days is anything to go by it’ll be a helluva few months!

Goodbye england! Huge shout outs

 Posted by Leonie Warcomika at 4:04 pm  Rwanda  Comments Off on Goodbye england! Huge shout outs
Sep 292013

hiya, so for those of you who are unaware I will have this blog as a way to let y’all know the goings on in Rwanda.

today is the day I fly out & before I start my adventure there are a few people I have to thank for the kind donations & words of encouragement. Stefan & Wendy, Kat & Sebastian, Jennings, Berry, dan, my mum, my brother & to everyone who has been supporting me through prayer & words of encouragement. It means a lot.

So, if you would like to follow the adventure this is how! Once again thank you everyone & wish me luck!

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