Rwanda is nothing like most of think. Maybe we think of Diane Fossie and Gorillas in the Mist. Of course many of us probably think of the genocide. While these are important parts of the country's history, today's rwanda is a proud and wanting to put the genocide and poaching of gorillas behind it.
The country even wants to work on changing its language. They no longer want to speak French, which they have spoken for many years. As a cab driver told me "We are Englishmen, and we want to speak English!" I found the country safe and clean. They even have a nationwide cleaning day once a month to pick up trash and connect with their neighbors. This is in part to keep the country clean and in part to make sure the Hutus and the Tutsis never hate each other again.
I was amazed by Rwanda's efforts to abolish poaching. They have created better jobs for the ex-poachers, and some poachers even working in conservation now! I attended a cultural camp where ex-poachers taught us about Rwanda's history. The ex-poachers explained that the new jobs they had were more consistent & improved their income and their lives were better for it.
80 year old retired poacher.
Cultural Village Dancing
I also visited the genocide museum, which was truly sad and moving. They want to never forget, and are moving forward as one group of people, not separate tribes.
Last but not least, the Coffee! Coffee in Rwanda is the country's number one cash crop, and it's only gotten better over the years. The samples I tasted were amazing. I can't wait to begin a coffee relationship here and purchase some of this great coffee. I think this is probably a great start to a relationship with a great country and its great coffee!