The little, wooden boat to Nkombo Island is always welcomed by a cluster of onlookers. As the passengers come into view, curiosity widens eyes and then smiles. Making the leap to shore, visitors are swept up the red, muddy hill by a gaggle of excitable children and greetings called from kitchen gardens.
Today the boat sat low in the water under the weight of white sacks of maize flour piled high. It slowly made its way to a gap in the shoreline reeds. No crowd eagerly unloading the boat, despite its valuable and much anticipated cargo.
COVID-19 has placed Nkombo’s 15,000 inhabitants on lockdown. Its fleet of little canoes is not able to float fishermen on to Lake Kivu. Two weeks into this crisis, hunger has a firm grip on its poverty stricken people and government support is unlikely to make it to this remote part of Rwanda any time soon.
When Rwanda Aid offered help to the island’s community leaders, they asked for 3 tons of maize flour to help the most desperate 300 families’ immediate needs. We hope that this will keep them going through the best part of the next week as we monitor the effects of COVID-19 and the impact of lockdown in Rwanda’s remote communities.
Thank you for your continued interest in and support for Rwanda Aid’s work, which we value so much during this difficult time.
Janyis Watson, Operations Director