Ready and Waiting!

As the week has progressed, we have been continuing to set things up before our students arrive this weekend. We have a full program of work established, as well as many opportunities to travel to see some of this beautiful country.

On Wednesday we again did some work with KIE students. They are extremely enthusiastic and hungry for new ideas, activities and approaches to help them develop their theatre skills. It is a delight to work with them.

After lunch we went into Kigali to try and research some traditional stories from Rwanda. The only stories we could find in English were our own familiar tales, many of them Disney produced. It was fascinating to see an eclectic collection of American, British, Indian, French and Ugandan publications. There were many interesting Indian tales… but the only ones from Rwanda were in Kinyarwandan. However Leon came to the rescue. He has lent us several books that schoolchildren use to learn English – and within them are several traditional Rwandan stories. Interestingly, some of them are versions of stories we know but with differences. A version of the Tortoise and the Hare was there – but with an elephant and a tortoise. The Pied Piper too, only with a plague of flies in a village, and a drummer who leads them away. There were many stories with animals in the forest.

As the evening drew in, Jean and Leon took us up high onto a hill overlooking the lights of Kigali for dinner. We had a spectacular fish presented to us on a platter. Served straight from the grill and seasoned with spices – absolutely delicious!

Today the KIE students identified many themes and issues that are of interest to them here in Rwanda, and created short presentations. Domestic abuse, Sugar Daddies, HIV infection, corruption, street children and conditions for workers were all presented. We were working in an outdoor amphitheatre at KIE – a fabulous space, but very hot in the mid-day sun. There is talk of erecting some tents for us to work in next week… it will be interesting to see how they are constructed and whether they will be cool to work in.

And tomorrow our first students arrive!

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About hkwmaat

Faculty member for the MA in Applied Theatre at the City University of New York School of Professional Studies. Also the Director of the CAT Youth Theatre at the Creative Arts Team.
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