Harriet, Catherine and Deanne | Day 8

It was a funny old day, David and Deanne were leaving at midday so there was much scurrying around putting things in bags at the last minute.  The three of us headed off with Isaiah to visit a nursery on Nkombo Island.  The road to the boat has to be the bumpiest we have encountered so far on this trip!  The boat was one step up from a dug out canoe but seemed to manage the lake crossing perfectly well.  It is always hot on the island and you are never quite ready for the steep climb.  

Nkombo Island is very different from Kamembe in several ways.  It seems to be poorer, the average number of children per family is 12-14 and there are no made up roads and the women appear to do the majority of the work.  

This was the first time any of us had seen a nursery in Rwanda.  Class size was probably around 60 with children attending either in the morning or the afternoon.  The children seemed happy and were all about to tuck into a huge mug of "porridge", probably their main meal of the day.  After the nursery classes we had a look at the early years primary school.  It was quite shocking to be told that the average class size was 200, again with children coming in either the morning or afternoon.  

As ever nothing ever happens in a hurry in Africa and Deanne was anxious not to miss her flight from "Kamembe International Airport". We seemed to gather passengers as we travelled.  Noella, a teacher, had been promised a lift to the hospital as she had a lot of pain in her hips; her son came too.  As we were waiting for the boat to arrive we noticed a quarter of a cow carcass waiting to join us.  Needless to say the three of us jumped on jolly quickly to ensure we did not have to sit next to the carcass.  Rigor-mortis seems to take longer to set in in this part of the world, and that leg was definitely still moving!  On the other side of the lake we all jumped into the car and then noticed a priest had jumped into the boot too.  What a relief - there was no room for the cow!.  

We waved goodbye to David and Deanne at 1 pm and headed into Kamembe for a very quick bit of shopping.  We had promised Honorette and Claudette that we would teach them to make bread.  Honorette had asked if we could have a go at baking her bread on the ibanbura.  This might prove to be a challenge.  However more challenging was the fact that we had a three hour power cut.  Thank goodness for the ibanbura which burnt Honorette's bread but meant that we had something to cook our supper on.  

We have had a fantastic stay.  It has been both fun and challenging at times.  We hope that we have set our bakers on a successful path and would like to thank all our friends and family at home for their support.  A special thanks also to Nikki Jacobs who gave us the bread cookery book which has been invaluable whilst we have been here and we have left it with our bakery group.

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Harriet, Catherine and Deanne | Day 7

Our Road Trip

After yesterday's crack of dawn start getting up at 7am felt like a positive lie in. First job was to prepare contracts for our bakers which were produced with relative ease. Next job was to go through with Florence and Cecile the contract and accounts. However we were somewhat distracted by Florence's three week old gorgeous baby who has now been named Harriet. It was exciting that the ladies main concern was that the trial period was too long as they were worried about demand and the size of the oven. It is wonderful that they are so positive and enthusiastic.

We then all squashed into the car with Elysee to visit some of our street children who have been reintegrated back with their families. Pacifique was our first port of call. Although this family had really very little it is encouraging to see his mother applying sound business sense to making the most of produce she has from their land. Then we sent to see Jean Marie who The Thomas family sponsor through BNM. This was a difficult meeting. Jean Marie and his brother James are essentially looked after by their grandparents. It is still very rare to see old people in Rwanda and the hardship and trauma they have encountered is clearly etched on their faces. This family is probably one of the poorest we have ever met on this trip. Jean Marie's reintegration has been successful but their life is still vey difficult.

We stopped for a chippy lunch - the best yet in Rwanda and then moved onto see two girls who were the first to go through BNM sewing vocational training. These girls seemed settled, happy and able to save some money each month for their work as seamstresses. It was a more positive end and lovely to see a different part of Rwanda where rice and tropical fruit are the main crop.

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Harriet with Harriet

Jean Marie Jo has been reintegrated into his family with his brother James

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David and Harriet