July 7: Kungabu (Fish Farmers) Cooperative
Our time at Peace Guest House came to an end. The van is once again filled to overflowing with an luggage backpacks, food and the drums. We headed out after a fortifying breakfast and were on the road before 9:00am.
The 90 minute drive took us on rough roads through rolling vistas of tea plantations, with extravagant patterns in the fields resembling a maze. It went on for miles!
Occasionally, we spotted workers out in the fields, harvesting the tea leaves. We learned that the wages are very minimal for such work.
Along the dusty, bumpy road, we came upon some men doing tree removal projects. One man stood atop the log, the other stands below, each on one end of a 10 foot long saw. They powerfully maneuver the saw up and down, cutting through the strong wood. The work is very strenuous. Fran hopped out of the van and climbed up one of the logs to take some photos of the workers.
Soon enough, the Kungabu Co-op was in sight and we were greeted by a group of singers and dancers in traditional green skirts. After their welcome dance, the led us down the hillside to see the 16 giant fish ponds. At the end of each pond stood a rabbit hutch, designed to feed the baby fish with rabbit droppings. This food source is not sufficient to feed the adult Tilapia, so WD4H has purchased a fish food-making machine for the Kungabu, which should arrive from China in a few weeks. This will be the very first machine of its kind in Rwanda!
A group of men jumped into one of them and began hauling a net from one side to the other, gathering hundreds of Tilapia along the way. They held up the fish for us to see while great pride and celebration filled the air.
We then visited the cows! Soul 1, Soul 2, Biscuit 1, Biscuit 2, and three new calves! In honor of World Dance’s favorit band SoulBiscuit, and dear friend Ed Diamond, we named the three new calves Chaka (after Chaka Khan, Ed’s close friend), Eddie, and Diamond.
Next, we went to see the room where the fish food machine will live once it arrives. The old, wise Kungabu leader named Callixte spoke to us about the development of the Cooperative and the strong hope he has for the future.
After interviews with a few of our students, portrait-taking by Fran, and a grand game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” (which translated into “Duck, Duck, YOU”) organized by Katrina and Bryan, it was time to pile back in the van and embark on our long drive back to Kigali.
An hour or so into the drive, we stopped at the gorgeous Nyungwe Forest Lodge for a cup of tea and a bathroom stop. The view of the rainforest from our tea table was simply breathtaking.
We continued on our way, stopping one more time at the famous Jungle Canopy Walk. Although it was too late in the day for us to do the walk, we admired the beauty of the exotic forest from the vista point.
By 9:30pm, we were back at Hotel Beausejour ready to hit the hay.