As I start to write the first
blog post of Project Noel de Nyundo I find it hard to believe that
we have only been here, in Rwanda, for 5 days! It feels a lot
longer. So much has happened; new people, food, smells, sounds,
journeys through the winding Rwandan hills, moto rides and so much

Nicky and I arrived in Kigali on
Saturday afternoon where Steph was waiting for us, having flown in
from South Africa. We were met by Viateur, the local projects
manager for the Point Foundation (an organization who we have been
planning the project with across the last year). He quickly whisked
us off in his car to find food, foreign exchange and local sims for
our phones. Admittedly after a 16-hour journey through the night,
Nicky and I found this slightly tasking, especially in the hot
midday sun. We survived though and made it to our accommodation for
the night with enough time to have a shower and relax before
venturing off into Kigali to find some much needed food. The next
day we travelled with Viateur, through the winding roads and
beautiful hills of Rwanda, until we reached Gisenyi where we will
stay for the next 6 weeks.

It’s day 3 of the project and we have used the time so far to
visit the Ubumwe Community Centre (UCC), a centre for children and
adults with physical and learning disabilities as well as the Noel
de Nyundo Orphanage.

First stop on Monday morning was UCC where we were welcomed by
Zacharie, the manager. He gave us a tour around the Centre and we
were able to make initial introductions with some of the staff and
the young people that attend the Centre on a daily basis.

In the afternoon we visited Noel de Nyundo. We were greeted
enthusiastically by the residents giving us a good opportunity to
practice our wobbly Kinyarwandan. There is a lot of change
happening at the Noel orphanage at the moment as Hope and Homes for
Children (HHC) are working to rehome each child that lives there,
eventually closing the orphanage completely. We were able to meet
with the local coordinator for HHC and discuss the possibility of
sharing some skills with the social workers that are working to
reintegrate the children into their new families and villages.

Day 2 was spent at UCC, observing staff and clients as they go
about their day-to-day business. They have several workshops
in place already, all with the principle aim of encouraging clients
to develop skills that they can use once they leave the

In the afternoon we had a brief stock check of all of the
instruments, which involved Hannah and Steph trying to work out how
to assemble windchimes and various shakers.

Today we returned to Noel to get to know some of the staff and
the children a little better. Although we were initially met by
despondent faces we soon had some of the staff, who care for the
babies, sharing local songs with us and dancing along with big
smiles on their faces, how quickly the atmosphere in the room
changed; A reminder of how music can bridge the gap between
cultures. Later we met some older children and using our
limited knowledge of combined Kinyarwandan and French we devised a
few fun games using a play parachute. The children have
boundless energy, us on the other hand, not so much…. but maybe
we can blame the high altitude?

As I sit on the balcony of the place we will call ‘home’
over the coming weeks I can hear a chorus of lovely singing in the
distance, the chatter of birds and the buzz of cicadas. Everything
is coming together and we are feeling positive about what we are
able to achieve in the next 5 weeks.

Hannah, Nicky and Steph x