Kids of Kinigi Village

25Aug09

The last post was about a afternoon off from the Hospital Project – and now is time for an update about weekend activities – and this weekend was certainly a treat.  We obtained permits through the Rwanda Tourism Board to go Gorilla trekking in the Virunga National Park! Admittedly I am not a outdoors-y person nor wildlife conservationist, but my team-mates excitement about this excursion brought a bubbly flutter in my stomach – and these majestic animals did not disappoint.  We trekked and followed the UMBANO family of gorillas led by a Silverback (grown) male named Charles.  Charles is over 100kg and leads a family of 11 including 3 wives.  I swear one of the mothers looked directly at me and saw through me – sharing 97% of human genes, these animals really connect.

Gorilla trekking is situated near a Rwandan village called KINIGI.  When we arrived, we decided to take a walk and soon had a following about 10-12 children.  These kids had impressive English, they befriended us to practice English and walked with us for two hours telling us all about their land.

“Favourite meal: Beef (meat) and rice

Dream job: Gorilla tour guide, gorilla veterinarian

Back-up job: Doctor” – they said

They attend a school called Kabara, which unfortunately has no mailing address. They asked us for a French dictionary. Although their English is impressive, Rwanda has a history of francophone communication and without French books, it was difficult for them to learn they said.  Our departing gift was a French/English book we found in the only shop in the village for them to share.  These kids wanted to learn so desperately, loved school and their teachers, I only wish I could help them more.  What I found really impressive is the fact they kept repeating “Education is the future” and “We must go to school to find a good job”.  Resource-constrained as they are, the kids of Kinigi understand the value of education as the first rung of the ladder.

So if you are reading this post and wondering what should be your random act of kindness of today, or this week, or this year – I leave you with the email addresses of two of these kids whom I walked with for two hours.  Peter (left) and Jack (right) are cousins and live in KINIGI village.  They share the same grandfather, but their fathers died in the genocide.  Send them an email (in English or basic French) and see what happens.  Am sure they would be delighted to hear from you! Tell them you know me and then share YOUR story.  The boys first learned about internet last year in school and are keen to communicate.  Remember the days of having paper & pen pen-pals? Go ahead – make a new friend on the other side of the world. I dare you.

Peter & JackPeter & Jack - Emails

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2 Responses to “Kids of Kinigi Village”

  1. 1 Soph

    I love this dare.
    Challenge accepted. 🙂

  2. 2 Suey

    awww…amazing post Jules!


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