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

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