Rwanda is a small mountainous country located in the Great Lakes region of East Africa, just south of the Equator. The country is ecologically diverse for its size and characterized with highland mountain landscapes in the west giving way to savannah grasslands and low altitude marshes to the east. Tourism, minerals, coffee, and tea are Rwanda's main sources of foreign exchange. Although livelihood practices vary geographically, agricultural production serves as the foundation for the rural economy. Rwanda is actively promoting entrepreneurial development in it's Vision 2020 push to become a middle income country. Administratively, Rwanda is divided into five key Provinces. They include the Western, Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Kigali Province located centrally.
Lake Kivu is one of Rwanda's main attractions, and we certainly understand why. If you've spent time on, or near, the lake at night, you've undoubtedly seen (and heard) the night fisherman of Lake Kivu. In this unique experience, you'll get to join up with one of the fishing teams and learn about the important tradition of fishing on Lake Kivu!
As the sun goes down over the lake, you'll board a small motor boat that will take you right up to the fishing boats. From there you'll have the chance to board the hand-made fishing boat, meet the fishing team, learn about the process, and (when it's time to raise the nets) experience how strenuous and strategic the work really is. You can head back to shore whenever you're ready, but most likely after they pull the nets for the first time.
The cooperative is made of 15 women, most of whom are widows as a result of the 1994 Geneocide against the Tutsi. The women of Kakira design and create reliefs on wooden panels using cow's dung. Once the cow dung has dried, the works are painted, dried again, and ready to be used as decoration.
Abraham is a self-taught jewelry designer who upcycles discarded materials (i.e. cow horn, cow bone, cooking pots, padlocks) to create necklaces of high quality and beauty.
Twiyubake Leather Sandal Cooperative - organized by Hands of Mothers (Manos de Madres) - is a cohort of incredible young people who did not receive a chance for a proper education, and all living with HIV. Many are the head of their households, struggling to provide for their families. Twiyubake provides an opportunity to grow together as a community, learn new skills, and connect with like-minded individuals who all want a chance to create a better future for themselves and for their families.
Samuel has been raising cows in the Lake Kivu area since he was a small boy. After losing both of his parents in the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi, Samuel started raising cows as a way to provide for himself. Now in his late 20s, Samuel continues the livelihood his parents taught him. Raising his cows is Samuel's life. He milks twice a day and lives off the earnings from selling the milk. He also helps support his two sisters with his earnings, and is saving up to build a simple house for his sisters.
The “One for One” movement became so out of control in 2011, that three college students began extensive research on supply chains in Africa in order to better communicate the economic injustice of hand-outs and explore alternatives. What they found were the victims behind those hand-outs: the entrepreneurial, informal network of artisan-shoemakers. Informed chiefly by them, Atinga was formed to defend and support their livelihoods and openly compete against this movement with their very own footwear - Africa’s most humble shoes. You can read more about the artisan-shoemakers behind this incredible Project on their website.
“What’s there to do around here?” I ask at the reception desk of a small, rural hostel. To my surprise, the most enticing of the responses I got was, “walk around.” That was after being here in Rwanda for about 3 weeks. In the seven mon ... read more