About Rwanda

The Global Volunteer Network's Rwanda volunter program allows volunteers to help develop communities in Rwanda. This program has something to suit all skills and experience levels. You have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of under-privileged children and adults by assisting processes to help eradicate poverty, reduce HIV infections, and help communities through capacity building programs. Whilst sharing your knowledge and compassion with the local people, you will have a chance to make a personal contribution and connection to the people of Rwanda. The program is located in the Kigali province of Rwanda.

For more information, please visit the Rwanda webpage on the Global Volunteer Network website.

Recent Rwanda Journals:

It’s getting close!

 Posted by Erik Ness at 4:00 am  Rwanda  Comments Off on It’s getting close!
Jun 062016
 

Hello and thank you for checking out my online journal!  I am t-minus 6 days from departure.  I will update you on my experiences via this journal.  Keep checking back!

On our way

 Posted by Cory & Coventry Kearns at 2:58 pm  Rwanda  Comments Off on On our way
Dec 262013
 

Woohoo we are all packed and on our way to the airport!!! Not long now. 28hrs and we will be in Rwanda!!!

2 weeks in! Well almost…

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

Muraho,

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

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!!

Sonia

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

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

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 [click here to read more]

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!

It is always the people..

 Posted by Sarah & Brian at 9:54 pm  Rwanda  Comments Off on It is always the people..
Nov 052012
 

Despite the difficulties of everyday life here, Ugandans are good humoured, friendly and generous with their time. We were lucky to meet William through our Rwandan contacts, a young social activist. He gave us help and advice, took us out to see a slum project he is involved with and talked to us about the renewable energy company he is starting. He made a real difference to our Kampala days. In Fort Portal, a Western town famous for its crater lakes and views of the huge Rwenzori mountain, another young man,Paul, took us under his wing. He is the proprietor of the guest house we were staying at. Knowing we were keen to walk out of the town into the hills, he gave up a day to take us on paths we would never have found,through villages and farms, up to a volcanic crater full of trees and then around a crater lake. It was beautiful and peaceful. On the way up, we had to cross a stream that had flooded the path because of the terrific storm the night before. We waded over, shoes and socks in hand. Paul actually offered to carry us, but we showed we were not that pathetic! As we came back by a different route, we discovered that the main river had flooded over the road, so that there was a wide swathe of water, in places looking quite deep. Crowds were there to look, discuss the possibilities, wait for those coming in the other direction, or prepare to wade. We proceeded calmly to remove our footwear, roll up our trousers and led by Paul, we began the crossing. It caused amusement, consternation and wonder in equal measures that the muzungus could get wet and show their white legs. All the way we were [click here to read more]

Hippos and Potholes

 Posted by Sarah & Brian at 9:14 pm  Rwanda  Comments Off on Hippos and Potholes
Nov 052012
 

One interesting thing about this experience is that you meet people of all ages (though we are always the oldest),with different backgrounds and from other countries. As volunteers, you live together, eat together, share bedrooms and bathrooms, work together or swap tales of the day each evening. There is a great deal of volunteer loyalty, making sure new arrivals know where to go for a beer and how to manage the local transport and planning joint weekend trips. On our last weekend in Kigali, we went on a game drive in Akegira National Park with Molly the American physio who worked with disabled children in the orphanage in Gisenyi and Larissa, a young Australian who has come to Rwanda really against her parents’ wishes, for her first experience of the wode world. We exclaimed together at the sight of baboons, antelopes, crocodiles, giraffes, buffalo and lots of birds. The bird life here is wonderful- there are so many species, of all sizes and in brilliant colours. And we were chased by a hippo. Well that’s the story. The guide advised us that we could stand on the bank to watch a family of hippos, black and pink faces just showing above the water, some large and some small. The ‘Daddy’, the bull hippo, rose out of the water to display his massive back. Then he turned and headed straight for where we were standing. The guide said run. We ran. I went through a thorn bush in my haste and Molly tried to shove Larissa into the car head first. In fact, if he had come for us being in the car would have been no protection at all. He could easily have pushed it over. But he was just threatening us to stay further away from his family and [click here to read more]

Leaving Gisenyi

 Posted by Sarah & Brian at 5:09 am  Rwanda  Comments Off on Leaving Gisenyi
Oct 172012
 

We were sorry to be leaving our placement for a last weekend in Kigali and then on to Uganda. The guide book describes Gisenyi as a ‘faded resort town’ but that is not how we will remember it. It does have a beautiful shore line on Lake Kivu with a beach, shady walks and an area where it is safe for locals to swim and play. It has several large hotels although there is only one, with a pool, its own stretch of beach and prices to match, that ever seemed full. It was a volunteer treat to pay for a Saturday there using the pool and the waiter service. But as one new volunteer said on his first visit there, the contrast with the rest of the district is like ‘day and night’. A guest in that hotel, who only travelled outside in a jeep as many do, would no doubt have a different perspective on Gisenyi from ours. Walk away from the shore and you are in a poor town but one with greenery everywhere, lots of public planting, shrubs, trees, banks of lilies and other flowers, a town where friendly open people are keen to meet and help you. The characteristic greeting here is an open hand raised and enthusiastically given to you in a warm grasp. If you could wave a magic wand or had huge amounts of money to invest,so that you could smooth out the rocky roads and pathways of the town, then you could lift your eyes from the constant hazards and see a pleasant place with hills surrounding it and wide streets. Many young women wear jeans and everyone has a tee shirt from the jumble of European second hand clothes in the central market, but the women mostly wear brightly coloured [click here to read more]

And then there was the day..

 Posted by Sarah & Brian at 5:55 pm  Rwanda  Comments Off on And then there was the day..
Oct 132012
 

The day a male chimpanzee, reclining at his ease high up on a cushion of leaves, thoughtfully turned his head and stared straight back at us gawpers on the ground. We had trekked a little way into the Nyungwe Forest early in the morning to see them. We had originally planned to see the gorillas but it has become much too expensive for us. Anyway,chimps are much more intelligent and in fact are very close genetically to humans. We had an hour watching them feed on wild figs and all the time they were perfectly aware of our presence. As the troop climbed down from the tree and set off,their whooping cries sounded like a goodbye. We had to endure a cramped 7 hour drive both ways on twisting mountain roads to get to this national park but we all agreed it was worth it. On the way back we nearly had an horrific accident. Drivers have to keep their eyes out for pedestrians rather than cars on these roads. Our driver was careful and alert but as we came down a hill, there in the middle of the road was a toddler on her own. He hooted loudly rather than his usual warning beep and braked, of course. But the brakes failed and we skidded past her by the merest yards, coming to a halt only with the handbrake. The child was fine. We were in a rural village, stuck on the verge while everyone gathered to stare ( which isn’t rude in Rwanda)and we all assumed we would be there for a long time. Within minutes a mechanic on a moto arrived, tools in hand, and with an interested audience of advisers, fixed the brakes. The day the Peace co-operative decided to show me how Rwandans cook. This [click here to read more]

The Most Extraordinary Day

 Posted by Sarah & Brian at 12:42 am  Rwanda  Comments Off on The Most Extraordinary Day
Oct 072012
 

It started with a tagisi ride, another form of transport here. They are taxi buses, ramshackle minivans, which ply up and down the road into the hills from Gisenyi town, charging only 30p and cramming in more people than seems possible. Then we walked up a mile or so up the bumpy track to the Mubaru Clinic where Christine, the social worker and HIV nurse who co-ordinates activities for the women’s co-operatives, is based. Here we met 10 or so members of the Peace Co-operative. After an interval for warm greetings, news exchange and chat, we set off as a column this time through fields of maize and plantain trees. Once we had crossed a main track, it was up again, up and up, now walking on the usual volcanic rock and rubble. It was green and peaceful with a view of the hills and the volcano visible in the distance. All along the way we were met with stares, followed by hand shakes and smiles once we had offered a Kinyarwandan phrase. The children ran to keep up with us or waved from doorsteps and bushes, all delighted to see Muzungus.This happens every day everywhere we go. It had just began to seem we would never arrive when we did. We had come to support Jassera with her new home project. She lives with 2 children of her own plus an orphan she looks after, in a shack constructed out of patches of rusty corrugated iron with a torn sheet as doorway. Slowly, stage by stage as she can manage it, she is having a house built directly in front of the shack, a four roomed building with the steep shelved roof of new tin propped on tree branches above the walls that is common here as the cheapest [click here to read more]

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