JOIN OUR NEWSLETTER
•• stay up-to-date with our programs, stories and music.
JOIN
 Please wait...
Thank you!
The continuation of our work with refugees and war-torn communities depends on your support. Please give today, any amount helps »
DONATE
WAR DIVIDES, MUSIC CONNECTS
Using music to bridge divides, connect communities,
and heal the wounds of war and conflict.
August 17, 2010 •• Rwanda Youth Music
The Last Days in Rwanda and Getting Ready For Uganda!

So on Friday the 13th we started our work in Gisenyi district. In the morning we had a productive meeting with the local coordinators of the organization Right to Play, and the director and the local coordinator of Vision Jeunesse Nouvelle (they still don’t have a website). They reach tens of thousands of children and youth in the district, focusing on sports, theater, dance, music and health education activities.

Right to Play – When Children Play The World Wins
Then we continued to Imbabazi Orphanage, which is located about 28km off Gisenyi, and had to cover the last 8km of a ridiculously bumpy road on taxi scooters without helmets. There we gave a workshop for some boys, visited the orphanage’s income-generating guest house and flower garden, and sat on the lawn with the older orphans and genocide survivors and played songs on the guitar in Kinyarwanda, Arabic, Hebrew and English (together we discovered that Let It Be is actually No Woman No Cry or vice versa). Most of the parents of these orphans were killed during the genocide. Some orphans had seen their parents murdered, their mothers raped. Fabienne sang to them the song in Kinyarwanda that the HIV+ women of the WE-ACTx women support group wrote in Kigali; there was a moment of silence, tears and smiles.
Playing guitar with orphans at the Imbabazi Orphanage
When the sun came out, Danny had to borrow Fabienne’s scarf and said that because he is muzungu—the Kinyarwanda word for foreigner or white man—he has to cover his head.
One of the girls then asked, “What is your name?”
“Danny.”
“You are not muzungu,” she said, “you are Danny.”
The next day we visited the center of New Youth Vision which includes a large gymnasium, a hall with a big stage, and a library. In the evening we sat on the shore of Lake Kivu, listening to the gentle waves lapping against the rocks, and had African tea, a spiced-up sweetened milky drink that can make your day.
African tea on the shores of Lake Kivu
Sipping tea, we were planning our trip up to Uganda on Sunday, but nothing would prepare us for the long, dusty, bumpy and most breathtaking road that we eventually took: covering the 250km between Gisenyi in Rwanda to Lake Bunyonyi in Uganda in one day, mostly on unsurfaced roads, next to cloud-enshrouded volcanic peaks where gorillas roam, including passing the border between the two countries, is not a task to be taken lightly…

The work with the kids around Lake Bynyonyi is incredible and very different from Rwanda. It is by far the poorest area we have visited since we came to Africa, but you will have to wait for the next post for stories and photos!

•• Topics Rwanda Youth Music