Should I add some more information? We’ll see how it turns out..
Explore Rwanda’s ‘green heart’
Tuesday, 7 July 2009
by Hindrik Bouwman in Rwanda
Muhoroni market, Kentikite, Rwanda (Hindrik Bouwman/
Rebecca Redmond, environment correspondent
Science Photo Library
· Two thirds of Rwanda’s rural population live in the hills. (Hindrik Bouwman/UPPA/Panos Pictures)
* Hutu and Tutsi recently clashed along Rwanda confrontations.
* Ledesia Watershed Management Project is an IPTR project that adopts integrated watershed approach for greening the economy through direct local participation using tea processing byproducts in cement production.
* Mt Kirasiro, on the Rwandan-Burundian border, saw the highest human densities measured in the 1960s and 1970s.
* Population of Rwanda (2007): 7,899,000
* Area: 26,338 km2
* Language(s): Kinyarwanda, English, French
* Capital: Kigali
* Life expectancy: 53.38 years
Rwanda, the tiny landlocked nation in eastern central Africa on the verge of a beautiful tropical forest, a critical final refuge for most of Africa’s threatened species.
Two thirds of the country is covered by lush, green tropical rainforests spreading into the north of Burundi and east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
But it is lifeless. No one has ever been in there to see what is behind Rwanda’s extraordinary and rare natural wealth.
But veteran US park ranger and citizen journalist Hindrik Bouwman successfully tracked down up-to-date, concerning and alarming information about the country’s economic miracle and drive in the mountains from below.
Burundi Forest, Hutu & Tutsi, Assorted
Only here are the hills, that overlook the rolling hills, where in the first years of the young, the black and white united Rwanda, who lived under the unthreatened rule of the Tutsi dynasty, run through terror, rape and killings. Rwanda gets her image of a troubled nation as she starts to entangle with the rest of Africa.
Source: Kenya forest cover has hardly changed in the last 24 years, with the total area standing at about 39.5 MHa, about 17.4 percent of the country’s land area
The three-hour drive from the lush agricultural paradise of the capital Kigali to the south-eastern corner is a switch of pace. Rough concrete turns into dusty dirt roads that turn into a cracked, bumpy, tar. As the capital disappears into the hazy low-rise hills, the few who live along the road stand in their muddy gardens of hard-boiled pumpkins and tomatoes, waving.
With only around 3 million people, Rwanda is Africa’s most densely populated country per square mile, with every inch of space taken up by relentless farming of cassava, beans and pumpkins – some 500,000 small farmers occupying three quarter of the land.
Houses – called Bahutu – are covered in blue corrugated metal, roofs and exposed rafters, tin roofs and sod or straw and the roads paved in minimal quantities of the stuff. People, by the thousands, walk through that working day. Under clear skies without a single cloud, you notice the country’s high rainfalls.
In Gorilla number 273 found now in Democratic Republic of the Congo (
BBC reports: “A conservation group says more than 50 Burundi-Rwandan gorillas have been split into two populations by torrential rains.”
Bouwman interviewed two adult teachers and their wives and the headmaster of Kirarambogo primary school in their smooth, freshly-renovated mud house overlooking the mountain that rises as a mist of smoke and ash.
To see the gorillas, you need permission from the Ministry of Environment, Wildlife and Tourism. A park ranger, who an administrative job for income, has to stay at the encampment of about ten tents in a spacious and comfortable patch of vegetation. The large breasts fall into the side of the gorge where volcanic ashes are mixed together with fresh ferns, a chill on the ground under the forest canopy.
/m e d i a / u b u n t u 18/ 2 5. s7p0a4b4zb7vzib.svgKukamadzu
As the march continues, we descend down a slope of dense old secondary forest, following footpaths over a swamp until, on all fours, we enter a forgotten stream, the jungle murkiness overhead illuminated by rays of light passing the trees, a perfect low-canopy jungle forest.
There they were: over two days there were eight; two Solomons’ M’s, two saddleback flowerpot M’s, and four conspicuous moustached apes clambering over each other in the trees.
While our guide skilfully filmed the monkeys, we rushed out to join them. Tarzan lay quietly in the mosquito-filled air before scampering to land on my shoulder for half a minute, gazing into my good eye without blinking through its brow ridges with its fatty purple and black festering, facial warts on its lips and the scalp around the prehensile ears. I blew off its wool in a plume.
Then, however, as Tarzan quickly ran off to the rest of the flange bank, he fell heavy through the trees above us, falling obediently on the rest of the troop waiting endlessly on the same tree trunk on the same very branch two feet above our heads – the sharp, pointed projection of its on the spine between the shoulder blades.
I would prefer the Congo not to go away, and the new country of Rwanda is always called a promising nation, a ‘laboratory of democracy’ according to experts, that hate and murderous things that pulled Rwanda apart in the last 20 years are now put right, but also a turn back out of Africa advances every month.
What makes me angry that the population is increasing enormously because of the population explosion in Rwanda.
People suffer from economic hardship or having no income, some live in poverty and need food, water, money and everything that is necessary for living. I am so glad to visit Rwanda in an action-news reporting capacity. Thanks for everyone allows me to be here. I usually go to a place and teach the ordinary citizens that want to learn, teach people in their own language. I love to meet people, just like to talk with people and like to hear them, how they speak and try to report.
Sometimes its nice to do a self-knowledge and I start to depress, from being in it every day and needed to have a rest or play with friends or family and I received many jobs that I would like to do because I love humans, which is my purpose of life.
People live in very low conditions and the reality is that not too many young people anymore can afford to get the education that we can buy. This can attract them for working because it is time to earn money.
The political situation in Rwanda started from the present in the early 20th Century, Kenya had a high death rate of men while they were in the fight, there were battles to get trained. In this period the people of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda had a pretty simple life, people normally engaged in agriculture activities.
They were mainly farmers, they grew pigs and any other animal that they may want to eat, they cultivated land and grew crops were they produced sorghum, millet, and maize. They did not just stop there they were also fisher men and women. They were taught how to do work at an early age by their family members.
Meanwhile in Rwanda, people lived a better life, they had many things to eat, which was produced and grown by the people themselves, and nothing was imported. During this time, there was peace and all leaved for a better country, (Rwanda) and gotten rid off many of the dictators from the years before.
Some other Rwandans in Kigali who live in good houses and have the power to elect their Governments and build big houses get bigger and better on a daily basis. They do so at the expense of the ordinary people during a catastrophic genocide. Many countries don’t recognize this fact because nobody has seen the genocide itself even though it happened long ago.
As I tried to emphasise I respect governments and leaders who try to help out the poverty of their people and because they want people to know more they found schools and help to build : Kirundi
Example words: erura – = tapantus – photograph
Example sentence: e-kimu mbere wa erura
Rwanda but no photos…
When exploring a developing country like Rwanda in Africa, you’ll notice that almost every African country provides a tourist with plenty of opportunities to take beautiful photos, but Rwanda however, there are hardly any photo opportunities, not because it doesn’t offer any photo locations, but because it does and it is indeed beautiful, but it is quite responsible for not behaving, for example, allowing tourists to snap photos for public or commercial purposes, the above statement does not give the full account of the current happenings in the country, a discussion with the head of the Rwanda National Tourist Office, Mrs. Christina Nsanzabihera, could shed more light.
Nsanzabihera explains to Incite visit, here in Kigali, that, “reasons were twofold, the first one was security and the other one, the protection of the pristine forests whose population was sacred to the President of the Republic of Rwanda who happens to be the Conservator of Forests-when the volcano erupted in May on the slopes of the Mt. Kamanjerusu, it was the wish of the President, to protect the animals and endangered flora population at the risk of forgone tourism revenues. Tourism has suffered a lot because of the immediate response was to establish a ‘Protected Zone’ around the volcano after the eruption and as a result, no tourism was permitted up to 50 kilometers from the last monitored seismological station.
It was a death blow to the already reeling tourism industry which accounted for over $150 million dollars per annum and had for the last 10 to 12 years, the primary source of foreign exchange earnings. However, Nsanzabihera says that before the whole mountain had erupted, tourism figures near the hill could have just elicited the same excitement from investors as Rwanda’s natural heritage and scenery has witnessed a similarity in some of the nearby areas within the region such as that of Ruhengeri.
“There were visits” Nsanzabihera says, “sufficient water supply, and everything going on, hotels were built in close proximity to the mountain and people were living there, but itr was the same areas touristst would not be allowed to enter, presently though, the other reason is the preservation of the forest and its rare natives, so a combination of both the above reason resulted in tourists not taking several use supply photos of Rwanda.” The above account sounded right, but surprisingly, during the course of Incite visit to the country, the guide confessed to being frustrated about the whole absence of photography, we did try very hard to document the many sceneries along the road from Kigali to Kalonge and up to Ngaliema in the Rusaka Game park, but to no avail. It was a spectacular scenery between Kayonza and Kinigi-your eyes delight with hills, hills and canyons! Fresh air and deer jumping in their native reserves with one skitting not even for the safety of their own lives, but for something honorable like an Animal Lover or a tourist willing to put zoo at their home.
On either side of the road, you could see school going children hardly conning with their books but busy with trying to glimpse little animals crossing the rows of banana plantations. It was a sight to remember, where children were more concerned at how animals were travelling through instead of concentrating on their local bus pickup to any of the local urban centers in Rwanda-it was indeed modern and plastic free. Today, we are aware of the solid reasoning behind President Kagame’s decision to ban photography in the stupendous national parks of the country but then there was not any solid reason. Animals were as afraid of humans as humans were of them.
Accommodation in Rwanda was trendy considering their taxes were better value unlike the Egyptian hotels that would charge a tourist double the amount offered by their indigenous hotels, Rwanda’s accomodations were cheaper and just as good but expensive compared to those found in the United States of America. Food in Rwanda was also cheap but slightly below average compared other countries in the region like that of Tanzania and Kenya.
There were a number of cultural clubs and centers to visit. Kigali had a rich history, compared to other capital cities in Africa that are less endowed, Rwanda definitely had its rich share. Visiting the Katyn Cathedral, built around 1994 after 1994 when Hutu masses were massacred in large numbers on the order of the then supreme military leader in those days– Juvénal Habyarimana was a nice idea!
In our time, we had the full account of the usual medieval architecture of Rwanda, great for that time but not for now, however enormous, who could have known such would have been said about such holy places. Off we went to the parliament, now our source of modernism! We soon discovered the art of Rwanda and its mosaic of creativity, and to be honest, that of which we are all missing…the other side of mountains like that of, Nyamata, Nyanza and others…who could fault against such beauty, like all the others shown in this menu, the art of Rwanda, representing a multiplicity of cultures within the country.
Unfortunately, Rwanda comes of age at the wrong time, when countries like that of Tanzania and Kenya, as envisaged by their new constitutions are on the verge of collapse as issues of secession and self-determination abound, bringing in more vulnerability and insecurity, peace and prosperity becomes the factor of all accumulation and of course peaceful coexistence. Accompanying the picture of this ‘distinction’ is a vision which says “The joy of daughters.” and it shows that the matriarch still dominates life for her daughters and to be honest there is not much difference…Life is life! We have yet to come out of the clutches of our traditional bondage even within the rural areas of Kenya and Tanzania.
We were also on MGA media team thanks to the likes of Charles Nyandiko and Faith Bukenya, who informed us thoroughly of accurate details as to what Rwandans think was worth a consideration in such an end. What Rwanda thinks of it is interesting and therefore necessary for us to find out. Fortunately, the majority of Rwandans have their views fixed on the achievement of President Kagame in the rebuilding and reformation of the country after the bloodbath of the early nineties and the genocide against the Tutsi.
We also got the same word from Dr. Patrick Bandaje, another Kenyan journalist into alternative and multicultural journalism, we talked about global investor confidence in the young and unknown President, Dr. Kigali, who had taken over the country from Habyarimana just a few minutes before the old Chief withdrew with their life support stabilizers. We were also informed of how the country had its respected world status, probably due to the expertise of President Kagame of winning the hearts and minds of Rwandans to accept nothing but perfection and the changes that come with it.
Human Capital remains the country’s biggest challenge, not because of a crisis of demand in quality labor at all. In fact, over the last ten years, there hasn’t been a single month reported, where the country hadn’t recorded increased unemployment figures and denied the possibility in offering jobs to foreign investors. It would actually be one thing for the R. T. O. to work to see to it that the joy of an investor the country which has an unemployment level estimated at just about 25% of the total population would be benefited, but it is another thing for them to understand what is legal among the international investors so that foreign, who started engaging Rwanda poor and begging for deals with the country, will get quality help, not to award them prize projects with no existing capacity.
These have come to constitute issues that even Kwame Ntia Sarpong once wondered about and today, with his position at TCI and NACC, since these institutions are deeply involved in the adjudication concerning proper and according to the standards and practices adopted, it seems like Ntia has his work cut out and if he succeeds half way, it will be a tough mileage to double it. And in Rwanda, we held a meeting where most NACC commissioners and members were present, and off the panel, we shared our various concerns encountering the new leadership of Rwanda, the concerns were different from the ones we had held previously and many, who still listed their names to be part and parcel of resolving problems in the country.
Next and bottom of our account for Rwanda was the fact that colonialism affected them more harshly than others, hence most other countries’ histories offer higher degrees of cultural unity that is not as distinct as one might expect when compared to the narratives of Rwanda. There is a full sketch of beauty that’s just being denied, what we hoped to take photos of we weren’t given even in die hard strict areas like those at high altitudes and in those confined in the highlands, areas which were off limitation to the common traveller but wouldn’t tell to their President. What would Lubabahaziga Tomb look like, why should water in pools be controlled? And particular control of fun and frolic, in areas where traditional music, dances and theatres of arts are all about life and love, for children of all ages and adults who remember back to marry life with burials of their loved ones, wailing in unique grief through these unique plays of grief!
We have to understand