Gorillas, and tourism, in Rwanda

Tuesday, August 4th, 2009

I have stayed on a few days after the official end of the project, in part to visit the jewel in the crown of Rwanda’s nascent tourist industry, the Gorillas in the Virunga Volcano Range. Well it’s been an experience!! The gorillas themselves were awesome; we visited “group 13”, which now ...

Completing the Avega Project

Friday, July 31st, 2009

This has been an amazing trip – and while it has nominally come to an end, its impact on all of us out here will last, I suspect, forever. The work we are doing will also continue, albeit from afar, as will the friendships we have made. With the Avega project, ...

Crime in Rwanda

Friday, July 31st, 2009

It doesn't really exist. Of course that's an exaggeration, and indeed the government steps down hard on any hint of corruption (which is welcome change from most countries in Africa). There is also a growing problem of begging, a sad by-product of the increased disparity between rich and poor that ...

Shooting Dogs

Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

The day after we played cricket at the scene of Shooting Dogs, we had a group viewing of it. For those who hadn't seen this film – arguably the best film of the genocide, and certainly better than Hotel Rwanda – it was a shockingly visceral depiction of the tragedy ...

Playing Cricket in Rwanda

Monday, July 27th, 2009

First the bad news....in the week we won against the Australians, at Lords, for the first time in 75 years, I have just captained an England team to defeat at the hands of a Rwandan cricket team. Okay, so our team was cobbled together from a number of us working ...

Hope

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

I'm half way through the week in Rwanda, sitting in my room at the Solace Ministeries, where there is a wonderfully intoxicating choir singing in the lilting language of Kinyarwandan. Of course, I have no idea of what they are singing, or even whether it is religious, cultural or "popular", ...

Akagera National Park in Rwanda

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

We have spent a day visiting the Akagera National Park; a critical tourist attraction for Rwanda, and the main driver of traffic past the Avega site in Rwamagana. If, as the government plans, the park can become a tourist attraction to rival the likes of the Serengeti and Masai Mara, ...

AVEGA in Rwanda

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Odette Kayirere is an amazing woman. She runs the AVEGA charity in the Eastern province of Rwanda; an organisation that having started off providing counselling and sanctuary for widows and orphans of the genocide (under her wing, she has 4000 and 17000 respectively), it has grown to address a variety ...

The Conservative Umubano Project in Rwanda

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

I have arrived in Rwanda as part of Project Umubano; roughly 100 people, ranging from Andrew Mitchell, shadow Secretary of State for International Development to a number of people loosely connected to the Conservative party. We are here for two weeks, to try in that time to help with what ...