Kigali, 4th -8th February 2019
On 4th to 8th February 2018, an education trip was organised for students and teachers of International School of Dar Es Salam to learn the life style of Rwandese, clearly understand the Genocide of Tutsi in 1994 and see how the country recovered from the aftermath genocide and war. Students visited the Kigali Genocide Memorials, and by the on the end of the trip they visited the Campaign Against Genocide Museum to understand how the Rwanda Patriotic Army (RPA) stopped Genocide and rescued survivors. The education tour continued with a short tour of Kigali city, the capital and commercial city of Rwanda to see the old and new Kigali and how the city is really clean. Kigali is considered as the cleanest city in Africa.
They visited twin lakes in Northern Province of Rwanda and they had fun on boat cruise with local motor canoes. A visit to the Gorilla Guardian Village was also arranged and students understand clearly the Rwandan culture, before, during and after colonialism era and how the village is improving life of former poachers and communities around Volcanoes National Park, home to Mountain Gorillas. Students visited experienced the tea processing at Pfunda tea Factory and how beer is brewed at BRALIRWA.
Day 1: Arrival
Our educational tour started with the arrival of the students from Dar Es Salam, with Rwandair from Dares Salam airport, and they arrived during the night. At theKigali International Airport they were received by the staff of Birding and Educational Tours and after a welcome note students and teachers were transferred to Gorillas Hotel in Kigali City Center, 25 minutes from the Kigali International Airport. After a wonderful dinner, a plan for the tour was discussed before they head to bed to be ready for the following 3 days.
Day 2: City tour, Kigali Genocide Memorial and Gorillas Guardians
On second day, the tour started with a short City tour, where Nyamirambo, part of the old city and a vibrant area of the town, Nyakabanada and Nyabugogo were visited. The city tour continued at Kigali Genocide Memorial, the final resting place for more than 250.000 victims of the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi.
The Kigali Genocide Memorial includes three permanent exhibitions, the largest of which documents the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi. There is also a children’s memorial and an exhibition on the history of genocidal violence around the world.
The education centre, gardens, and Genocide Archive of Rwanda contribute to a meaningful tribute to those who perished, and provide a powerful educational experience for visitors. The students understood the causes, implementation and consequences of the genocide, and other genocides throughout history, what can done to prevent future genocides and they visited the burial for victims of the Genocide against the Tutsi. In the afternoon, we proceeded to Musanze, driving along hills and mountain toward the North of the country and students understood why Rwanda is called a country of 1000 Hills! It took 2 hours to reach Musanze Town then we proceeded to Kinigi and we visited the Gorillas Guardian Village, the former Ibyiwacu Cultural Village. The Gorilla Guardians was created to improve the lives of reformed poachers and communities around Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park through provision of conservation incentives, supporting community enterprise development and livelihood based projects. At the Village, students understood the life style of Rwandese before, during and after colonial era. They have a short tour of the village for an unusual and unforgettable insight into the everyday lives of the village communities. Students visited the king’s house replica and listened to all the Kings stories, the meanings of different symbols within the palace guided by a local guide. One of the students, a boy, was enthroned and girl as a queen. Students visited the local traditional healer to hear about the different medicinal trees, shrubs, grass and their traditional medicinal uses and how they are administered to local patients and later they visited traditional clinics and pharmacies. The ex-poachers showed the ways of hunting, methods and stories from ex-poachers in particular Batwa (pygmies) and some students practiced the use of bow and arrows to kills the wild animals. After the techniques of hunting, students attended a local banana brewery process and have seen how the local banana beer is produced. The tour of the village ended by a well organised traditional dance before they visited the artisans and craft making by women, men and children, etc.
DAY 3: Twin lakes and tea processing
After the morning breakfast, we head to Burera and Ruhondo, Volcanic lakes in the region named twin because they are situated in the same areas and their physical connection. After understanding the history of the lakes, how they were formed, how they produce hydropower, students enjoyed the boat cruise with local motor canoes. After lunch we head to Gisenyi and we had a stopover at Pfunda tea plantation and factory. At Tea Factory, student visited the tea plantation and they learnt the whole process of tae plantation, how tea is renewed when it is old, they harvested tea in farmers uniform. Farmers are friendly and gave the history of the tea plantation which lies below the Virunga volcano and the rich volcanic soil helps to contribute to a higher tea quality.
After tea harvesting, went to the factory to learn the tea processing from arrival of the green leaf through to the withering, cutting, drying and sorting stages, before it is packaged for shipment.
DAY 4: BRALIRWA and Campaign Against Genocide Museum
After breakfast, students visited BLARIRWA, also known by its French name Brasseries et Limonaderies du Rwanda, the largest brewer and soft beverage company in Rwanda. The brewery was established in 1959 when the Company’s flagship Rwandan beer brand, Primus, was first produced in Gisenyi and currently they produce both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Students had one hour tour of the brewery and have experienced the process of beer production and packaging.
In the afternoon, students drove the whole road from Gisenyi to Kigali to visit the Campaign Against the Genocide Museum located at the Parliamentary Building in Kigali City. Students and their teachers learnt in details how the Campaign Against Genocide Plan was executed by RPF/A and how the RPF/A forces who were in the war of liberation took the unilateral decision to stop Genocide, Rescue victims of Genocide and defeat the Genocidal forces. They have also seen the outer part of the museum comprised of monuments including that of the 12.7mm Machine Gun that helped in containing the advancing genocidal forces.
The tour was concluded on 8th morning, when the students were transferred to the airport to capture with the morning flight.