This week has been very encouraging, reflecting on the progress made and the future possibilities for the school.
For some time we have heard a rumour that there is going to be a hotel built on the lakeshore very close to the village on the next peninsula. As we have passed by, on the boat, we have noticed some exploratory building work. This week we found out some definite information. There are plans to build TWO hotels in that area! As you will see from the photos on this blog this area is beautiful and has great tourist potential. Rwanda is trying to increase its income from tourism and to develop better facilities. This, combined with the building of the road from Nyamasheke to Karongi (Kibuye) by the Chinese will greatly improve transport links.
On the way back to the village this week we took a detour to visit Esperance Children’s Village on the further shore. The route we took by boat would eventually lead to Mugonera, which is where we usually go to the market. But this time we pulled into a small bay on the opposite side of the water where there were several canoes for children (I later found out that they were provided by students from Stockport Grammar School. After leaving Samuel to look after the boat Jean Baptiste and I began an extremely challenging (for me) steep climb up the hillside along the edge of small remnants of rain forest. At the top I had a stitch and was trying to catch my breath when some friendly locals showed amazement at seeing us emerge from the vegetation. Lake Kivu itself is already at an altitude of 1,460 m above sea level and I think I must have climbed another 1000m in 20 minutes! The average elevation of Rwanda is 2,750m and this includes lower levels of savannah type land in the east. No wonder I was out of breath!
|The view from part way up!|
Anyway, we made it but we also realised that this would not be a way for visitors to approach the Children’s Village unless they were very fit. (like me??!) The road is equally challenging at the moment because of the thick mud - see previous blog entry. The road will improve in two years time though. Mmmm...
We were warmly welcomed by Victor the Director of the project (http://lesperancerwanda.org) and we were given fresh cool water and tea. We sat on the verandah looking out at the beautiful landscape around us and discussing our various projects plans and ideas. It was here that we discovered that a hotel is being planned for the lakeshore just opposite from Gasundwe village. Victor will be in charge of the project and will re-locate to the eco- hotel when it is built, hopefully by January 2015.
The following day Victor and the volunteer teacher from Belgium came to visit Gasundwe and were very impressed with what we are doing there and what has already been achieved by the combined efforts of the local NGO (GIFO), the original founders of the project from Rochdale (R2R) and the major efforts of the Canadian NGO Ottawa to Rwanda (O2R) (http://www.ottawa2rwanda.org/).
|learning about colours, observing and matching|
The results of the visit are potentially very exciting:
Victor has agreed to provide some teaching materials for our school.
He has also said that he may be able to provide a storage cupboard.
A teacher of sewing skills from the Children’s village can come to stay in Gasundwe for several weeks to train some of the ladies to use the new sewing machines provided by O2R. His project will support her with accommodation etc. This will mean we can increase the number of ladies to be trained.
We also shared our ideas about the possibilities for some joint work once the hotel is full of tourists. All these things need to be discussed by the local community through their GIFO committee. It could mean many changes for the village and all the community need to agree on the way forward.
Now, I need to write a report for all the stakeholders in the project so that discussions can take place and plans for the future can be made. I see my role as collecting information, sharing my knowledge and skills and facilitating ideas but the actual work and decision making is done by others. Thankfully.
Lots of love and gratitude to all who read this blog. Tricia x