Breaking Uneven Ground

Blog Photo-2TRO – Muhanga – Rwanda

Rwanda may not have a whole lot to it in terms of popular tourist attractions. If you are researching the country through travel books or online google searching, even the memorial sites are rarely, if ever, mentioned. Gorilla Trekking is technically in Uganda, but you can book the trips through Rwanda travel agencies. Most of the popular national parks are located just over the border on either side of the country (Burundi, Congo, Uganda). Many people may skip it in lieu of these neighboring countries. They would would making a mistake in doing so.

Rwanda is a gorgeous country. I would say it is a mix between Ireland and Costa Rica. It is green everywhere. The landscape is all rolling hills. The long drives to get from Kigali, the capital, to anywhere are made to feel short by just staring out a window. Even the swamps have beauty to them with lush plant life reminiscent of something out of a Dr. Seuss book.

These amazing rolling hills are great to hike through and look at, not so great for building on. But, build on them we must. The TRO farm animal loan program is growing quickly. A place is needed to raise more animals. Right now there are 5 pigs in “foster” homes. They are working to build a centralize location to house more of them, and future animals, to grow. They hope to have it eventually become a place to grow crops as well. They look to mirror the Uganda farm.

First things first: making level ground on which to build. Mostly this entails moving dirt from one section of land to another. As in most things in Africa, we are equipped with very basic tools. I do not think I have ever used a hoe before my time in Rwanda, but I felt pretty hand with one by the time I left. The other cooperative project I worked with on my last day even had people asking me if I farm at home. Apparently I looked pretty comfortable swinging the hoe around by that point. I knocked out quite a few weeds as I went along.

The worst part was not the physical labor, or the dirt, or the fact that I hit an fire ant colony at one point. The complete lack of shade from the African sun while doing on this work made my energy levels run low quick. Luckily , Rwanda is much cooler than its neighboring countries. I do not think I could handle those conditions with the heat in Tanzania or Kenya.

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