Stories tagged with Rwanda

Apr 4, 2010 RW Rwanda

By Sara Strawczynski, KF10, Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda

This afternoon I walked the streets of Kigali with thousands and thousands of people, united to commemorate 16 years since the start of Rwanda’s genocide.

A Walk to Remember in Kigali on April 7th, 2010.

In 1994, the very road we walked on was systematically transformed into a terrifying assembly of roadblocks, violence and murder. The entire country was engulfed, and when the...

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Apr 4, 2010 MN Mongolia

By Anna Cleal, KF10, Community Economic Ventures (CEVI), Philippines

Some people don’t like airports/train stations/bus stations but I do. I like those few moments in between where you’ve been, and where you are going. The fact you actually get a chance to reflect. I’m in a queue at the airport. Here are my thoughts.

Sometimes life rushes. Sometimes it goes so fast you don’t have time to check if you’re going in the right direction. Sometimes you see a slower, less comfortable mode of transport and assume it’s going in the wrong direction. Sometimes it’s not...

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Mar 3, 2010 RW Rwanda

Instructions: Start with a plain white van. Insert several computers. Connect to a power supply as well as a backup power supply. Build connection to a central network. Apply a splashy paint job and finish with enthusiastic staff. Result: A bank on wheels. Okay, the recipe is not that simple, but Urwego Opportunity Bank of Rwanda (UOB)’s newest branch is a mobile branch, a fresh way to provide financial services to Rwanda’s working poor.

UOB’s motto is Bank for All (or Banki ya Bose in Kinyarwanda). Achieving this is a huge challenge in...

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Dec 12, 2009 RW Rwanda

Gavin Sword KF9, Rwanda

Children are adaptable – this is what I have learned since my first post on our kids’ experience in Rwanda.  Christian and Savilla are different people than when we arrived and they have become accustomed to life in Rwanda.  Cold baths are met with resignation if not acceptance.  They now get excited when they see bugs and like to pick them up and give them names.  And the mosquito nets are cool now, like a special fort (for my son) or a princess’ veil (for my daughter).  This was NOT how they were in our first few weeks here. It is time for them to...

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Nov 11, 2009 RW Rwanda

Gavin Sword KF9 Rwanda

There is a TV show that profiles treacherous jobs around the world, the episode i recall was one about Alaskan King Crab Fishermen.  These brave men (typically) work night and day in stormy seas on slippery decks in frigid waters.  The ships are rocking violently with waves crashing over the decks – death just a misstep away.

Here in Rwanda on my drive to work each day, I see women who are employed as Street Sweepers doing a job that rivals the dangers faced by the men on these Alaskan...

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Nov 11, 2009 RW Rwanda

By Gavin Sword, KF9 Rwanda

The music of Africa conjures images of native dancers and handmade instruments – the drums, rhythms and dancing are mythical. Knowing I was coming to Africa, I was so looking forward to hearing the native music of Rwanda.  Music is one of the purest ways I know to experience and appreciate new cultures and connect with people.

During my time here, I have had a few occasions of hearing the native music of Rwanda and it was wonderful.  A church service and wedding ceremony I attended with traditional...

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Nov 11, 2009 RW Rwanda

Gavin Sword KF9

I read with great interest the very thoughtful blog by David Roodman: as well as the more sensational New York Times article about Kiva’s loan disbursement disclosure issues.  I agree that Kiva could have done a better job of explaining the nuanced realities of fund disbursement on its website.  And I think that insightful blogs aimed at holding Kiva accountable are useful and will serve to strengthen the organization. But beneath all the controversy, for many, I think a line blurred between connecting to an individual and controlling an outcome.

As...

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Nov 11, 2009 RW Rwanda

By Gavin Sword KF9 Rwanda

I know this is not the first time that I’ve mentioned that my children are Rwandan.  We adopted Savilla and Christian in 2006 when they were both babies. Our girl turns 4 this month while our boy is a few months past 4.  They are the cutest, most adorable little people one could ever hope to know.  They are loving and friendly, kind to each other and to the people they meet.  Part of the reason I wanted to come to Rwanda as a Kiva Fellow was so that they could have the opportunity to spend time in the country of their birth.  To give them a chance...

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Oct 10, 2009 RW Rwanda

By Gavin Sword, KF9 Rwanda

It is true that internationally, Rwanda is most known for the horrific events of 1994; a genocide that claimed the lives of more than 800,000 of its people.   There is no satisfactory way to comprehend what happened here.  Yet as a testament to the human spirit – life in Rwanda carries on.  The people I have encountered are not dwelling on the past – they are focused on the future.  Like people everywhere, they are intent on improving their circumstances, bettering themselves, connecting with others...

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Oct 10, 2009 RW Rwanda

By Gavin Sword, KF9 Rwanda

I am really enjoying working with my MicroFinance Institution today – I think it’s worth reporting this because there have been some low moments leading up to this point.  But today, I am really experiencing that the people at Vision Finance Company (VFC) are all here doing the best they can with the resources of the organization.   Management is highly capable with far reaching ambitions for VFC in Rwanda.  They are committed to Vision Finance Company’s mission to help the poorer people in the country that need and deserve access to...

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