News from Rwanda 1

Posted in Blog on 7th September 2010

After a long journey we arrived to a very warm welcome at Munezero House Cyangugu. We spent the first few days adjusting to the very different culture, experimenting with transport (motorbike taxis, motos and local buses, mutatus) and orientating ourselves to our new surroundings. The first week of our programme involved observing the daily routines at both the centres we are to be working in; Ngwino Nawe and Nkanka. We were welcomed by everyone at both centres with lively enthusiasm and had great fun joining in with the dancing and singing.

We had a meeting with the key staff from both centres at which we clarified the aims and the structure of the six week project and agreed a timetable. We are hopeful that this joint meeting and the combined staff training days will help develop the relationship between the two centres and lead to sharing of knowledge and reciprocal support. Following this, we ran workshops for the staff at both centres to hand over the instruments and demonstrate some basic principles of Interactive Music Making. We intend to start running both individual and group music therapy sessions with staff observing at the beginning of next week.

We have been very fortunate with our accommodation; Rwanda Aid is a small charity working with some of the most disadvantaged people in the south-west corner of Rwanda. They have provided a very supportive environment for us, and we are very grateful to them. As he had three musicians staying in the house, David, the head of Rwanda Aid, was keen to put us to good use, and decided to throw a musical soiree for staff and friends. The news got around quickly and over thirty people turned up for a mix of singing, playing and dancing from many different cultures. Everyone threw themselves into the evening, which ended spectacularly with a frenetic, chaotic ceilidh - possibly a first for Cyangugu!

We were sorry to say goodbye to Helen Leith who flies back to the UK today. She has made settling in much easier for us, due to her extensive knowledge of the country, past experience and the practical guidance she offered. This morning we ventured into the market with our Kinyarwanda teacher to practice some of our new vocabulary. We must have learned something as we came away with everything on our shopping list!

Thanks to all who are supporting us. We’ll be in touch soon.

Nicky and Caroline

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