Arriving in Musanze - Lauren

Today we left the big city of Kigali and winded our way around the mountains to arrive in the beautiful city of Musanze, formerly Ruhengeri. Upon our arrival, we checked into our hotel and were able to visit two villages, both of which greeted us with a song of welcome. At one of the villages, we got to witness a Rwandan dance given to us by the Intore Dancers. These men were dressed in traditional clothing and put on quite a show in long, flowing blonde headbands and spears. There were women singing and dancing as well, and the group collectively put on a memorable performance. I would say the best part of this was when we, as the visitors were pulled onto center stage by the dancers to learn to the best of all our abilities some authentic African moves. I belive this happened at least three times throughout the dance, and the dancers were even willing to share their costumes with us for the sake of a good time. In the midst of this dancing and singing and getting lost in the experience, I couldn't help but feel a bit jealous. I admired the dancers for taking such interest in their culture and appreciated their willingness to share it, but I couldn't help but wish that back home we had something such as this, that did as well a job combining such old traditions and bringing a community together in participation. America most definately has its own unique culture and traditions, that is for certain, but seeing this spectacle of singing and dancing in its traditional form, bringing the village together to welcome strangers just had a much different feel to it than anything I have ever experienced in the U.S. There was something about it that was so organic and the pride taken in sharing this experience with us was obvious. It was really cool seeing this one piece of Rwandan culture that was able to unite not only the people of this country but us as outsiders as well.

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