You can follow their Instagram blog https://www.instagram.com/cedarsrwanda2017/
A group of 30 students, staff and friends of Cedars School have spent two weeks volunteering with our partners this June. They supported the school project by raising money to build another classroom and in Rwanda helped with the building work as well as teaching at the nursery school, playing sports with the children at the homework club, helping at the farming project and of course, visiting some of the country.
You can follow their Instagram blog https://www.instagram.com/cedarsrwanda2017/
Sun 4 Oct 2015
Douglas and i got a taxi to the airport at 04:00.
Then at the boarding gate they announced that due to heavy fog our flight would be delayed by at least 2.5 hours to Amsterdam.
At 10:35 they announced that two passengers were missing. Then we heard that they went home and their baggage had to be taken off the plane. We later learned that because of this delay, the next flight due to leave after us actually flew before us!!
We eventually arrived at Schipoll Airport, Amsterdam and were instructed to use the self service machine to scan our passports and obtain new flight instructions. Douglas managed to print off his boarding pass and complimentary voucher for something to eat. I tried next and was successful.
However, on closer inspection, we notice that our flight was not to Kigali, Rwanda but to Nairobi and wait for it, it would be tomorrow/ Sunday morning at 11:15 to arrive in Nairobi 20.10. Then there would be a flight flying out at 22:10 and arriving Kigali 23:45 at our final destination which is nearly 17 hours later than scheduled!.
So, the drama continues, KLM was putting us up and the other 40,000 pilgrims in a hotel for the night.
Meanwhile, back at the airport, they wouldn’t let Douglas through the border control as he was not yet a British Citizen and didn’t have a visa- so I abandoned the poor sod! - not really lol! I stood in the KLM queue to get the hotel room while they contacted UK Migration to verify his eligibility. So eventually Douglas got through passport control over an hour or so after me, and great timing! He found me as i neared the start of the queue and and we got booked into the Steigenberger Hotel - with complimentary slippers that don’t fit!
Monday morning 5 Oct
I started to develop a pain in my right ankle which got worse standing in long, long queues at the airport. Pain got worse on the plane and had to see a doctor. I got wheelchair assistance off plane and onto next flight, but didn't have time to see a doctor.
On next flight i was sick, then even more sick as i dropped my bottle of Glen Talloch whiskey at Kigali airport, which i bought in Glasgow and it smashed. We arrived at 00:15 and stayed in a hotel in Kigali.
Tuesday 6 Oct
Went to Kigali hospital… and started a 3 week course of Amoxicillin.
Eventually arrived at Rwamagana CMF centre at 13:30 where i stayed the last time, but only for a few hours. I moved to the guest house just around the corner. One of the staff has been a great help to me. He is always smiling and laughing, and good to have around. His sister, Bena, does all our cooking and washing. She is a good cook and makes lovely mandazi - which are like wee scones.
Saturday 11 Oct
Feeling better each day. Pain is more manageable now. I've managed to use crutches and am at the CMF centre now for lunch and company. At 4pm Douglas and co. did their 5k sponsored run- without me sob, sob.
The long awaited rains finally started today- which is great for the crops, and cooling us all down.
I wondered what the rains would be like compared to back home. Over here, it rained about twice each day, accompanied by thunder and lightning. Rain was heavy and lasted from about 20- 30 minutes at a time. which greatly reduced the temperature, as it had been 84f in my room on Tuesday.
Got great news from back home, that Race night at celtic club in Greenock raised around £2,200 with still more money to come in.
Tuesday 13 Oct
Reviewed at hospital and results all clear. Glad i had travel/medical insurance. On way back we stopped off for a buffet lunch in Kigali which the guys enjoyed, and only cost equivalent to £14 for 4 of us.
Friday 16 Oct
Butare trip with Douglas and Angela. Six hour drive there and back- mostly uphill in the mountains, with spectacular views. We visited The King’s Palace Museum/Rukali, located in Nyanza district of the Southern provence approx 88 Kilometres from Kigali city. There we had a guided tour and viewed maps that showed the vast expansion of Rwanda over the centuries.
We then visited a replica of a milk farm and a brewery- with no beer! Then saw some traditional Rwandan cows with very long horns- accompanied by their keeper! who whistled to them, as they all have a name. Then he sang to them…
After that we visited The National Art Gallery located in the Rwesero Hills 3 km away.
We saw a lot of Art Work depicting the atrocities of the genocide, and also the theme of new life, the present and the future for Rwanda.
Saturday 17 Oct
Went to Homework club at new classrooms that are funded by support of celtic club in Greenock from race night last year and other events. The children sang and danced for 25 minutes- which i videod on my ipod- accompanied by a girl on drums. They sang Gospel songs/hymns which was really great and they all enjoyed it. Other kids joined in the dancing at the end, as did some reluctant volunteers. I also met Alphonsine, who i sponsor. She was was very shy, bless her!
Afterwards, Douglas took Angela and me for Fish and chips at Muhazi, Jambo Beach. We ate outside beside the lake and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. I didn’t realise there was a Catholic Church nearby, so plan to go to mass tomorrow, and thank God for all the help I've received since i arrived.
Sunday 18 Oct
Angela and I attended the Catholic Church for mass which lasted 2 hours. Again we really enjoyed all the singing, which was very spiritual and uplifting. I only understood about four words of the sermon, so that was a bit different from the norm.
Monday 19 Oct
Douglas asked for three trees to be cut down at the centre. Then had an idea that the wood could be used to make furniture for the classrooms. That's exactly what is ongoing now.
Afterwards, we went to see and assist with house building for Evelyn and siblings. We helped to carry some bricks about and then it rained for a bit. We left for lunch at the centre.
After lunch, Angela and me tidied up the office and moved desks around. It looks a lot better now and more organised and workable.
Tuesday 20 Oct
Lumberjacks- make me wants to start singing again Monty Pythons lumberjack song lol!!. Made a gig to support large tree trunk which they have started sawing lengthways by large hand saws for school furniture, which is a lot of work!!
Angela had a good productive HR meeting with with guys to help them plan, organise. implement and review their duties to promote efficiency and time management.
While she did that i tried again- but in vain- to access and edit our Blog. So i went back to the guest house.
Had a lovely dinner again, with african tea which is made with milk and is lovely.
Angela went to see how Evelyn’s house is progressing, and it's coming on well.
We plan to go back tomorrow and also attend homework club at classrooms, where we can say farewell to the kids before we go home on Thursday.
We also plan to take the guys out to Dereva hotel tomorrow night for a farewell meal and to thank them for their hospitality.
Wednesday 21 Oct
Awoke 06:15 - as you do if your’e in bed early every night!- and had a nice hot shower. After breakfast went to Evelyn’s house and helped hand bricks up to one of the guys. We got the bus there and back as Douglas had the 4x4 for business use. Douglas took me to the bank in Rwamagana after lunch as I needed to withdraw cash to pay for my stay.
We then went to the homework club, which ran late as some kids were sitting exams. While we waited the others played volleyball and football outside. I went a few yards from the classrooms to see the hole that guys dug for the toilets. I don’t know if the digging is complete yet, but don’t think so. The hole so far could maybe just about accommodate a single decker Mc Gills Bus!
Angela plans to go online tonight to KLM and confirm our flights for tomorrow.
Tomorrow we plan to leave for Kigali after lunch, so we can go to craft shop and buys gifts etc. before our flight to Amsterdam at 22.35.
Angela led a class of P5s.- 5 then 6 children for social studies, wth Didier and myself. Some if them were very shy.
Didier and Angela then summarised the lessons on the blackboard and the children copied it into their jotters.
Thursday 22 Oct
Last night 10 of us went to Dereva Hotel for a meal and had a great time mutually praising each other and saying our farewells.
Friday 23 Oct
Lots of farewell photos taken after lunch yesterday before we left for Kigali. Stopped at craft shops to do a little shopping.
Sitting in Sportsview Hotel waiting for our dinner and using their wifi by the pool.
Hope it's as sunny in Greenock as it is here. lol!
Two volunteers from Croatia have recently arrived in Rwanda. Hannah and Marco had originally come with the Catholic church to Gitarama in the South of the country. However, they found that they didn't have a lot to do there, so applied to volunteer with Aid for Education's partner organisation in Rwamagana.. They have been helping with the building work of Evelyn, Kabanda, Murwanashyaka and Jacky's house and have been teaching in the Homework Club. There is definitely plenty to keep them busy here!
Here is a photo of Marco giving a gift to one of the children who is part of the sponsorship programme.
Arthur was surprised at how well the children knew how to use the iPads.
A very enthusiastic English lesson!!
Angela visited the Abagore Farming Co-operative, where she helped to plant soya and maize. The women were happy to have her there working with them. They also received clothes that had been donated.
Children attend the Homework Club a few afternoons a week and at the weekends. In 2013, Cedars School of Excellence in Greenock donated some iPads and these are used to help the children work on English, Maths and other skills.
We have built a house for the child-headed family of Evelyn, Murwanashyaka, Kabanda and Jacky. Their old one was in a poor condition. Here are some photos of the new house under construction.
Hi everyone, First blog is rather late due to wifi connection troubles and my dodgy right foot, which I'm blaming mostly on the fog that delayed us for 6 hours at Glasgow airport and to cut a long story short- my antibiotics course finishes tomorrow and I'm slowly on the mend.
Therefore, Ive been staying at Avega Hotel as it has ensuite facilities that i need.
I feel a bit useless to be honest as i have to lie down most of the time with leg elevated, and disappointed obviously that i wasn't able to do the 5K run and get my hands dirty etc, housebuilding and visiting some families. But I'm an optimist and my glass is always half full and Im thinking positive, and I'm feeling better each day.
Douglas has been very busy as usual and has given me tremendous support personally and with his network of friends :colleagues and staff have helped me get back on my proverbial feet!
It was very hot and humid on our eventual arrival last Tuesday - 84f in my room.
The rains eventually arrived about 6 days ago with thunder and lightning, which was great as it not only reduced the temperature, but helped the crops to grow. It now rains about twice most days for about 20-30 minutes then stops.
We had 2 new volunteers who arrived yesterday from Croatia - Marco and Hannah.
Douglas is driving Angela and me to Butare in the south, for a day trip tomorrow, and I'll have the back seat to myself to rest my leg.
Its dark again now, just as it was on my last visit - 6pm lights out!
Watch this space for more updates......Kind Regards, Arthur
I (Douglas) and Arthur will be heading to Rwanda on 4th October and Angela will be joining us on 9th. All bags are almost packed, full of donations for the children and IT equipment for our partner organisation in Rwamagana.
Some of what we'll be doing involves building a house for a family, visiting children at home and school and doing a 5K sponsored run. The run is to raise money to build toilets for our school project.
We'll keep you up to date with posts and photos.
KLM website states that we are allowed 2 x check in luggage at 23 kg each- which is 3kg more than i thought for total of the two, and 12kgs hand luggage which is good. What we would like though is suitcases like Dr. Who's tardis which would accommodate what we would really like to take out with us.