Thursday, September 10, 2009

Let the games begin!!

After an entire summer of travelling in South America with my sister, I thought that travelling would be out of the question (at least for the next little while) in order to start and finish my masters program at the University of Western Ontario. So you could imagine my surprise learning while I was away that I would come home for two weeks and leave again on one of the sweetest trips in my life…so far.

When mentioning Rwanda, it is easy for your mind to jump quickly to the news of the early nineties when most people were only just beginning to hear about one of the biggest massacres in recent history.

Now, Rwanda, the land of a thousand hills will easily become my home and my love during the next three months. With an amazing and painful history, Rwanda has managed to overcome their obstacles and start fresh while never forgetting their past.

First things first I think an introduction is in order.

We are the Round 4 Fall Interns for the Western Heads East project in Kigali, Rwanda. Our team met for the first time as a whole about a month ago when I returned from my travels. We got to know each other fairly well in the two weeks of last minute orientation and preparation for our trip. Our team is made up of three students, Helen Awai from the faculty of Science (Biology and Religious Studies), Nilmi Senaratna from the faculty of Science (Environmental Science and French), and myself, Silvia Marroquin-Ponce, from the faculty of Arts in Humanities (French and Spanish Language and Literature).

During our three month and a half internship with the Western Heads East program from the University of Western Ontario, we will be exploring the possibility of starting a probiotic yogurt project with a local women’s group in Kigali Rwanda. Our project’s main objective is to address the HIV/AIDS crisis in Eastern Africa while empowering a group of women along the way.

Already, Western Heads East has two running projects in Mwanza, Tanzania (since 2004) and in Oyugis, Kenya (since 2008). Kigali, Rwanda will be the third “Fiti” (Swahili for good health) yogurt project in Eastern Africa with Western Heads East.

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