On our Rural Experiences, you learn about life in the Rwandan countryside by living it with the villagers…
I think people should do the Rural Experiences because the only way you really learn about life in the Rwandan countryside is by living it with the villagers. If you do our most popular experience, A Day in the Life of an Artisan, you spend the morning helping to fetch water, prepare lunch, cut grass for the animals and do other farming activities. You prepare the lunch and then you share the lunch, so you get to know exactly what Rwandan life looks like. They don’t treat you like a visitor but as a family member. And then in the afternoon they teach you how to weave a traditional sisal ‘peace basket’, say, or a piece of jewellery or a hairband, something small and simple to learn, and then you go home with it.
All our days are very hands-on. So, with Traditional Pottery, for instance, you go into the fields to dig up the clay and other materials, and with Traditional Construction, you get to make your own mud bricks and then build something very small, like a pig house. And they don’t destroy it, they actually continue the house and use it. It’s great for a family with kids because it’s mud – they enjoy making the bricks and having fun in the mud. And the Traditional Cooking Day begins in the fields rather than the kitchen … If you are short of time, you can drop in at the Azizi Life Studio in Kigali, but it’s not exactly the same. There you can do the crafts, but you don’t get what you get in the village: seeing the landscape, meeting people, going inside their houses, eating traditional food.
After the Experience Days, most of the visitors say they are amazed at how strong the ladies in the village are. They are very strong and they are confident, even though they don’t have what we can call the basic needs. But still, they are optimistic, they see the future and they don’t complain about their life. But the people visiting them have more than enough, and still have some complaints. So then the visitors tell me how they’ve learned that they should be very thankful for what they have, not complaining about what they don’t have. Also, by the end of the day, because they have learned how to do some of the crafts, they understand better how difficult it is to make some of the things, so they appreciate the finished products in our shop much more.
Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Vicki, who's travelled extensively in Rwanda. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it alone. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the guides who track mountain gorillas day and night to ensure you get the best sightings, the Kigalians who'll give you a real insight into their vibrant city and the coffee-growers who'll tutor you in the art of tasting.
Freephone an expert 01306 744 656