Wednesday

Basket weaving and Banana beer!

Today was another great and adventurous day! We drove from Kigali to Musanze which as approximately 2 hrs and 30 minutes north/northwest of Kigali. I grew up in this town, so it's hilly nature has always seemed normal to me. After being away for a while, today I realized how very hilly and different Musanze actually is! When we got to Musanze we checked in the Hotel Muhabura. Interestingly, Dian Fossey stayed there while she conducted her research in the mountain gorillas.

After lunch, we visited a cultural exchange place called Red Rocks. We first toured the place and then we got a chance to do some activities with the women from the community. After looking at the beautiful baskets at the markets and in Mbyo village, we actually got to learn how to make them.

It took at some time to get how it is done, but after trying a few times we finished a few lines with different patterns! Basket weaving has played a key role in Rwanda's reconciliation process and community development.

As we weaved, I realized how it sparked various conversations, and it gave me a picture of what it might be like when Rwandan women, both genocide survivors and genocide perpetrators' wives, are able to talk about the genocide and how to move forward. So, I thought it was wonderful to experience part of the process.

Lastly, we worked with the women from the center to make banana beer and we tried some of the finished product they already had. We also had a traditional dance troupe dance for and with us, and they taught some of the students how play drums! It was an awesome afternoon!

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