Humphry-Bakers in Rwanda, Part 1

Newsletter: UK Managers Summer 2017

We are very fortunate to have two new volunteers in RwandaSam and Katy Humphry-BakerSam is a former pupil of Vinehall School, and he and Katy are newly wed. Their ten weeks in Rwanda will be an extended honeymoon!!!
Sam will be working with the team in developing renewable energy projects and Katy will be supporting the enterprise scheme.


Having met at university, Sam and Katy are now recently married and live in Brixton, South London. Sam studied for his PhD in Materials Science Engineering at MIT in Massachusetts (a long distance relationship ensued!) and now works as a Research Fellow at Imperial College London. He specialises in developing materials for nuclear fusion reactors. Katy did a Masters in International Development at LSE and now works as a public servant in the House of Commons, having spent time working for select committees and in the legislation office.

When not working, Sam and Katy enjoy escaping the city to indulge their love of the outdoors. They love camping and cycling and recently combined the two on their honeymoon in Sicily.

First impressions

Our first few days in Rwanda have been about discovering for ourselves the many things that we have read or been told about this country and Rwanda Aid...

Firstly, with a view out of the airplane window, it doesn’t take long to realise where Rwanda’s name “Land of a Thousand Hills” comes from. We saw a beautiful, undulating landscape dotted with roofs in small villages. But when the sunlight faded, so too did sight of the houses that were below, and the absence of electricity and lighting in many areas became quickly apparent.

Humphreys 2

We had been told that Kigali is a spotless, thriving city. Sure enough, arriving in Kigali airport proved to be one of the smoothest airport arrival experiences ever! Not only were we met by helpful and friendly border staff (somewhat a rarity these days!), but all our bags were waiting for us in the shiny luggage hall having survived a day long transit in Nairobi, which had cast some doubt in our minds about whether we would be so lucky. Life outside the airport was just as orderly, clean and welcoming as within.

We had been told it was the start of the rainy season and as we approached Kamembe the heavens opened and the rain of an African rainy season did not disappoint. Sitting outside Munezero House in the vein hope that the rain might subside we were anticipating our welcome by the Rwanda Aid team, who we had been told were a “jolly bunch”. When we finally made a dash for it we were met by a team of friendly, smiling faces who gave us the warmest of welcomes!

We had heard about the work of Rwanda Aid in the Rusizi District and a short time in the office, as well as a wander around Kamembe, soon cast light on what this work looks like. We saw a busy, productive team who all clearly know their roles, and work hard to achieve them. The fruits of this labour are evident, as a short walk through town brought us within sight of the Street Children Village. We were struck by its idyllic location on the banks of lake Kivu (which would rival any fancy U.K. boarding school!) and the benefit this peaceful, restorative setting must bring to the children who live there.

We were also told that we might face some frustrations and our two hour excursion to withdraw some cash, and the power cut that just made me retype all of this (I shall be saving more frequently – lesson learned!), has also brought this to light!

Humphreys 3

Humphreys 4

To sum up, our first impressions of Rwanda are that it is a beautiful, fertile nation, still facing the many challenges of economic and social development, with a population of friendly, productive people; and of the Rwanda Aid team, a welcoming, driven group of individuals who are working hard to improve the lot of their people in the most effective and sustainable way. We are very excited about helping with this mission over the next 10 weeks!

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