Saturday, 12 November 2011

Back in touch......

The parcel from Jack
Ooooo! I've missed writing my blog but all is well again! I have had several technical problems and I'm still ironing out one or two , but hopefully I can write my weekly account again now.

When Jack came to Rwanda in August we searched for a bread tin so that I could make my own bread which wasn't full of sugar. We couldn't find one anywhere, so Jack sent me one in the post.Look carefully at the photo and you will see my lovely bread tin - squashed out of all recognition! Goodness knows what happened to it on the way here but as you can see, the only bread that's going to be baked in there is 'flatbread'!!! lol. But thankyou Jack - you're a star! The sweets and jelly are much appreciated as well. And, as it happens Phil also sent a bread tin - a silicone one so I'm going to be trying that out soon. 
Playing with jigsaws in the bank
Regular readers of the blog will know about the village project which my friend Fidele and his friends and family have initiated. Back in February I went down the lake to visit the village for the first  time and then in August Wendy, Phil and I went to stay in the village for several days. Jack is also heavily involved in the project and was in Rwanda the whole of his school holidays. Now every month I go to Kibuye to meet up with the teacher, the project manager and the treasurer. We sit in the bank and sort out the accounts etc and then I do some teacher training. Last month I took some home made jigsaws and here is a picture of Francois doing his first ever jigsaw!!! He really enjoyed it. 
A very happy teacher
And in this photo you can see Gabriel, the teacher with the biggest smile in the world! He's so delighted because I gave him a solar powered speaker set and an old 'Walkman' CD Player so that he can play English Dialogues to the adult English class that he has started in the village. So, thanks Phil for that wonderful kit which will help to transform lives. Every time I go to pay the wages I take teaching aids as well and it's wonderful because everyone in the bank is intrigued and even the security guard and bank staff come to see what is happening this month!Last month we played a game with a coloured die and a game board made from a rice sack. No-one had seen such a game before. We were in the bank about 3 hours and it occurred to me what a unique situation this was - it couldn't happen in the UK - we'd probably be charged for sitting at the table!!

I think I should tell you a bit more about the Kibingo Project because I realise some of you will be confused. So, to clarify, my main work is my job with VSO which is quite separate from the project. The project is situated in a village in a very poor rural area, 2 hours by boat down Lake Kivu. The children from the village have to walk about 2 hours to get to school - even the little ones, so we have started a Nursery school in the village for children aged 4-7years. We have also started adult classes for the parents at the end of their days work cultivating the fields to grow food for their families. We provide food for the children every time they come to school.The project will make a tremendous difference to the lives of the children and their families.The project has also involved building work to provide suitable accommodation for guests to the village. We have lots of plans for the future, and a website is under construction.

The short term goals of the project are:
·         To establish a Nursery School  for the youngest children, providing breakfast and dinner for the children aged 4-7years
·         To establish adult literacy lessons in English as a second language
·          To provide clean drinking water to the village.

Long term goals include:
·         the erection of a health post, providing health checks and care for expectant mothers and young babies
·          the installation of electricity to the village. (In the short term and as fund raising allows we aim to bring electricity via solar panels to the church and the school. This will also act as an income generating scheme for replacement of parts and batteries. The electricity will be sold to local people to charge their mobile phones)   

The project is funded entirely by individuals in the UK and if you would like more information please send an e-mail to 

So, that's probably enough for now but please don't forget to comment or write on facebook or send me an e-mail. Lots of love to everyone xxxxx. Oh and the swallows have returned to Africa so I guess it's too cold for them now in the UK - Sorry!


  1. Wonderful blog, as usual!!
    In case anyone is interested.. The CD player is an old 'clamshell' design
    powered by 2 AA rechargeable batteries.
    As there is no electricity in the village, I added a solar powered AA battery charger and a fantastic minature solar powered loudspeaker!
    I'm looking at replicating this kit at, say £60 each, so that Tricia and other VSO advisors can perhaps make them available to other remote village schools where there is much sun, but no electricity!!!

  2. He Tricia - We've never met ..I'm Helen (Jack's mum). Jack showed me the photo of the bread tin!What on earth happened to it!Jack has told me so much about you - you are doing a wonderful job out there. He can't wait to return - talks about nothing else - even trying to persuade me and his dad to come over - one day perhaps .. you never know. Me and my sister have had a good clear out of our wardrobes and already filled a suitcase full for Jack to take. It's mad that we have so much and the people in the village have hardly anything but are still so happy - no wonder Jack loved it. Take care and hope to meet you one day. Helen xx

  3. Hi Helen
    It's lovely to hear from you and your son is wonderful!!I hope you will come to Rwanda before I leave in Nov 2012. You will love it here!!The bread tin looks as if it has been squashed by a ten tonne truck!! I don't understand it at all! anyway that's one of the exciting things about being here - most things area complete mystery to me and I just carry on regardless!!
    Lots of love to you and all your family. Tx