Today this lovely message was in my inbox...
All is set for you. The women will be too excited to see you. Go prepared not only for business but ready to dance too when they will be entertaining you. You will like and love the people and the country.And with this, I am preparing to go to Rwanda.
From Kigali, I'll head straight to a village called Muramba to visit basket makers and other artisans. Let me tell you a little about Muramba...
In this village, during the genocide in 1994, Hutus came with machetes to a Catholic school. They told the girls to divide themselves--Hutus on one side, Tutsis on the other. The girls refused. They said no. And they all were killed.
When the genocide was over, there were more than 3,000 orphans. About 2500 were orphaned by the war. And 500 by AIDS. The children were living by themselves in their parents' homes. And the parents were buried in front of the house with just a banana tree marking their graves. The country was one of orphans, widows, the disabled, and the young.
Muramba is in an undeveloped rural area. What was a community with no electricity or clean water, now has wells and alternative fuel sources thanks to Engineers Without Borders. They have an orphanage. An AIDS awareness programs. A honey business. The women have a small loan fund. Umamaliga borrowed money to purchase sweet potatoes to sell at the market. And in two months, she repaid her loan.
If you want to know more, click here.
I just finished a non-fiction book I liked very much--There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children by Melissa Fay Greene. It's about Haregewoin Teferra, an Ethiopian woman who takes in AIDS orphans.
So I'm packing and leaving and stopping at Amsterdam en route. Then on to Muramba and around the country to meet coffee farmers.