News from Rwanda 2

Posted in Blog on 14th September 2010

We’ve now reached the end of the second week of the project, and we’re getting to know the staff and children, and the workings of the centres a little better. We began running individual and group sessions this week, with staff observing. From now on, staff participation will increase gradually until the last week, when they will plan and lead sessions themselves. There is a lot of enthusiasm as staff are keen to learn new skills to help the children in their care.

Ngwino Nawe is a residential home for children and young adults with a wide range of physical and mental disabilities. Nkanka is a day centre which caters for a large number for children from the surrounding area. Each day of the week sees a group of children with a different disability. Both centres offer training in vocational and life skills such as woodwork, sewing, cleaning and cooking, alongside basic education.

On Friday we held our first training session for staff from both centres. We outlined key principles of Interactive Music Making, illustrated with video clips taken from sessions at the centres. This proved very helpful as staff could then make connections between the theoretical ideas and the examples of children they know. They enjoyed seeing the children in a new context, responding to a different style of interaction. The session sparked interesting discussions about the challenges of caring for disabled people in Rwanda. Although the week was rather exhausting, we feel we have made a very positive start at both centres and are excited to see how the staff will use the ideas and skills we have been sharing.

This weekend we visited the genocide memorial at Shangi, an hour away from where we are staying. It was a deeply affecting experience, difficult to put into words, but valuable as thus far it has been hard to connect those events with the optimistic, cheerful Rwanda we are getting to know.

We also drove through the tea growing area to the beautiful Nyungwe national park, where we stopped for a drink at the exclusive Nyungwe Lodge hotel, recommended to us by our hosts. Although we enjoyed relaxing in the tranquility of the surroundings, the experience was an uncomfortable reminder of the contrast between the relative luxury we are used to at home and the standard of living for the majority of Rwandan people.

We’ll be in touch soon!

Nicky and Caroline

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