By Jean Nicholson
Vincent picked us up on Monday morning and I had the opportunity to join the workshop attended by the majority of the co-op members (and a few babies) at the Hilton Hotel in the Bugesera District. Jean Paul, a consultant, facilitated the training that included information on cooperative structure and governance. As the training was conducted in Kinyarwanda, I was not able to understand the majority of the content but what I did observe was rapt attention by the members and intent note taking.
Tuesday was a big day. After picking up some supplies, we were able to visit the co-op's land and watch the
completion of the greenhouse build! This is where they will plant their first crop of tomatoes. Again, many of the co-op members were in attendance and participating in finishing the structure.
This allowed us to take quite a few photos and they were all very excited to see themselves on film. My travel partner was showing them some pictures and they shouted, 'yesowey!' and 'manowey!' repeatedly. From what I can tell this loosely translates to 'Jesus!' and 'Oh my God!' which for some reason put them into a fit of hysterics. They kept repeating these phrases and laughing for the rest of our visit. Also, when we would take photos we would say 'seka' which means 'smile' and must not be a common thing to do when having your picture taken, as it would also make them giggle.
Either that or we were pronouncing it wrong.
We were able to capture the thoughts of the co-op chairman, Marie Rose Ntakirutimana, and a member, Angelique Mukabutera on film and I am eager to hear the translation as they both seemed very passionate about sharing their feelings for the co-op, both its challenges and its opportunities.
We then visited the home of co-op member Josephine Niyonsenga to take some photos. She lives in a modest earth block home with a separate structure for the kitchen and a small pen for her cow. She has several small children who were more than happy to have their photo taken.
As with Uganda, it was such a pleasure and honor to spend time with these women and see their commitment to self-success.
Africa Development Promise
Establishing, maintaining and empowering cooperatives in rural Africa.