Rwanda main category
At 5:30 in the morning, myself and an interpreter were dropped off by motorcycle taxi to a family’s house. Their children are sponsored by the Portland, Oregon, based Itafari Foundation. Unreachable by car, transportation within the village is on foot or by an old gearless bikes for the lucky few. I spent my time there following and photographing,“the day in the life” of two children, brother and sister.
Sunrise – an hour after I arrived to Claudette’s house.
It was dawn when we arrived at Claudette’s house. Her 16 year old brother, Justin, and two children, John Claude (8), and Naomie (10), were already awake. The children were finishing the first of their morning routines, taking the chickens out of the house and putting them in mud walled pen outside. At night the chickens sleep inside to avoid theft.
This chicken wanted to come back in.
The family I was with are among the most impoverished in Rwanda. Where they live has no running water, and no electricity. Their house was made of mud and bricks with a fabricated sheet of metal for a roof. The floors were the hard red dirt common to this part of Africa.
John Claude boils water for breakfast in the kicthen, a cooking area on the side of the house.
In the Kayonza district of Rwanda’s eastern province, a carbon offset program established by the U.S. based Clinton Foundation is helping to avert global climate change, increase food yields, and raise living standards for the local people. In Rwanda and Malawi alone, over 4 million trees have been planted through the Clinton Hunter Development Initiative, saving almost 450,000 tons of carbon.
Cassava, native to South America, is one of many food bearing shrubs and trees growing in Rwanda as part of this program. Grown across the globe, cassava is one of the biggest sources of carbohydrates for meals in developing countries, and is especially well suited to sub-Saharan Africa’s poor soils. With a starchy tuberous root similar to potato in texture and flavor, cassava can be boiled, fried, baked, or dried and ground into flour. In his cassava fields, with roots in hand, this farmer is able to harvest without damaging the trees.
TIG is a Rwandan program allowing people found guilty of participating in the genocide to serve all or part of their sentences doing community service. TIG, “Travail d’Intérêt Général,” is a French acronym that means “works of general service.” The program is normally referred to as community service, but it is not the same kind of community service we see in the United States.TIG prisoner giving thumbs up.
The program allows eligible prisoners to complete their sentences through participation in activities such as clearing ground, road building, construction of houses for genocide survivors, clay mining, and brick and tile manufacturing. Participants are referred to as tigistes and they engage in hard physical labor: breaking and hauling rocks, digging with picks and shovels, and manually moving earth by hand, sack, or wheel barrel. Many of the workers do not wear shoes.This new road is being excavated and leveled by TIG members. It leads to an area where other participants are constructing homes for genocide survivors – Rwanda
The Rwandan village of Nyamucucu is too small to be found on most maps. An extinct volcano, Mount Muhavura, dominates the western sky. The eastern border with Uganda is unmarked, somewhere between Nyamucucu’s high ridge top and the lush valley below.
Uganda is seen from behind the Nyamucucu village school at Rwanda’s northern border.
At 9:30 am a team of doctors and clinicians from the Butaro Hospital, run by the Boston based Partners in Health, sets out in three vehicles for a one hour drive to Nyamucucu. A mobile health clinic will be set up at the local primary school. The road there, in places no more than a dirt path, winds slowly down a hillside, across a valley floor, and up a steep terraced ridge.
This collection of photographs is from the building of Kigali Parents Secondary School, in Kigali, Rwanda. Building in the developing word is labor intensive. It’s rare to see construction equipment and vehicles. The following images are of concrete being mixed, transported, and poured for the second floor of the school.
There are an estimated 860,000 orphans in Rwanda, as last reported by unicef. The 1994 genocide, AIDS, and hard living conditions account for much of that number. Forty-five of them, from the streets of Kigali, Rwanda, are fortunate to receive even minimal care, in an orphanage run by the nonprofit, OVC Rwanda.
In the shadow of the downtown business center, overlooking a slum area of Kigali, the orphanage is in a desperate state of disrepair. It’s founders and community members are unable to raise appropriate funds to update the structure beyond four walls and a roof, supply needed school books, and at times provide enough food for the children.At the top of the hill, Kigali city center is prominent.
How do you bring lighting to the 98.6% of rural Rwandan households that have no access to electricity? The answer is entrepreneurship, micro finance, pedal powered generators, portable pod lights, and an innovative company called Nuru (Swahili for light).
With an award from the World Bank’s Lighting Africa competition, Nuru spent the past year working directly with rural Rwandans, co-creating the first commercially viable pedal generator to bring renewable lighting to areas currently dependent on kerosene lamps. The concept is an innovative, efficient, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to bring market based solutions to the one third of the global population living in poverty – a staggering 2 billion people.Nuru power cycle charges 4 lights after 20 minutes of pedaling.
Arthritis affects people worldwide – elders in Rwanda as well as the U.S.
For the next three weeks I’ll be staying with my good friend Emmanuel, in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. The oldest in his family, Emmanuel willingly cares for his younger brothers and sisters, some nieces and nephews, and two adopted children. His friends […]
This afternoon William Clinton, from Kigali, Rwanda, received a signed photograph from U.S. President William Clinton.
Last January while photographing a micro finance story for Rwanda’s Coojad cooperative bank, I met a bartender named William Clinton. Leaving with his email in hand, I planned to send him a photo of President William Clinton, when I returned […]
Two types of medicine are being practiced at the Butaro hospital in northern Rwanda; one treats diseases of infection, the other treats the disease of poverty.Using local building techniques, materials, and labor, construction of a new hospital building is now underway in northern Rwanda’s Burera district, near the border with Uganda.Lush terraced hillsides, subsistence farming, and Lake Burera dominate the one hour drive from the nearest paved road – less than 15 kilometers as the crow flies.Lake Burera, Rwanda
In a joint venture with the William J. Clinton Foundation, and Rwanda’s Ministry of Health, the Boston based Partners In Health (PIH) is overseeing the building of an innovative hospital designed to control infectious diseases like tuberculosis, as well as nosocomial (hospital-induced) infections common to hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa.”
Rwanda is a country of great natural resources; not mineral deposits, not oil, not coal, not gem stones hidden in the earth.Rwanda’s natural resources are home grown – its people.
Fifteen years ago the country was the scene of one of the humaniy’s worst genocides .One million people were killed in the course of […]
In September 2000, the largest gathering of world leaders in history adopted the UN Millennium Declaration, committing their nations to a new global partnership to reduce extreme poverty. They set out a time-bound series of targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), with a deadline of 2015 for meeting them.
When the genocide began on April 7th, 1994, many ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus took refuge in churches, believing militias would not enter these areas which were perceived as sanctuaries. At the Nymata Catholic Church, located in the Bugesera district, 35 km south of the capital of Kigali, 10,000 people were killed in and […]
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In times of armed conflict, children are among the most vulnerable – as victims, hostages and worse.During the genocide in Rwanda, one million people were killed in the span of one-hundred days.The killers did not discriminate;men, women, or children, any who were identified as from the “wrong” ethnicity were killed.
With the fall of the […]
In rural areas of Rwanda it’s common to come across herders with cattle. Typically one or two older boys walks a small herd to and from water sources and food. These, Ankole Cattle, are unique to sub-Saharan Africa with specialized horns used to cool the animal down and prevent overheating in the strong African sun
There are approximately 350 mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei) left in the world. Their habitat range is small protected afromontane forest patches, in northwest Rwanda, southwest Uganda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). On October 8th, 2007, myself and seven others went with a guide to spend time with the Kwitonda group […]
The Itafari Foundation, in cooperation with Assist – Rwanda (a local NGO), as well as the Rwandan government, have partnered up for a first of its kind goat demonstration project. They are raising and distributing goats to cooperatives of child headed households. Together the children will breed and sell goats to support themselves and have […]
3:00 a.m., April 21st, 1994: Soldiers loyal to the genocide in Rwanda encircled the technical school in Murambi. Construction of the campus had not been finished when the genocide began. Within 48 hours all but 4 people were massacred; some blown up by grenades, some shot, most hacked to death by machetes.
Emmanuel Shamakokera, is the national director for Assist Rwanda. An organization dedicated to helping young Rwandans in difficult circumstances overcome adversity and rise above the challenges in their lives. He is described by his associates as one of the hardest working people they know, devoting most of his waking hours to the youth of Rwanda.
When we’re hurt we cry, when we’re happy our faces reflect our joy. We welcome the breeze that cools us on a hot day, and the warmth of a fire on a chilly night. We love our children, care for our friends and family, and cherish the time we have in the open arms of […]
Today was my first low key day since I arrived. We had lunch in a typical Rwandan neighborhood with Vicky’s friends Rita and Chrysologue. I napped on their couch, photographed Bessie the cow, and talked religion and politics with Pastor Francis who lives next door. Then Rita and I lounged on the […]
Charlotte is a survivor of the genocide and a person of incredible resilience. She is a young woman who is dear to Victoria Trabosh, President of The Itafari Foundation. Charlotte “is like a daughter,” she says.Vicky met her on her first trip to Rwanda in 2005.Like many, Charlotte suffered great losses in the genocide; […]
Ezra Kwizera is a man of many passions – a minister, a philanthropist, and a gifted musician and videographer. This morning I visited him at his recording studio in Kigali, New Road Productions. Here’s some of what I saw…
Ezra with Bogart and Bergman in the front lobby of his studio.
A wider […]
These images are from my first day in Kigali. My new friends Francis and Chrysologue drove me around Wednesday afternoon, 09-26-07.
Woman in Kigali
Residential road in Kigali
This boy came up to my car window while we were stopped on a side street and asked if I would take […]
From Portland it takes 27 hours to get to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda (21 in the air, with two 3 hour layovers in Chicago and Brussels) . My legs did fine, however I’m still averse to sitting. The following photos are from the morning clouds over Belgium, and an amazing sunset over the south […]
In April 1994, one million human beings were brutally slaughtered over 100 days in the small African country of Rwanda.This genocide was of overwhelming proportions, orchestrated by a radical political party that seized control of the Rwandan government.The loss of human life was a tragedy in its own right.A second tragedy concurrently unfolded – […]
Map of Rwanda