2009 - Joseph Farsakh

While walking the streets of modern day Kigali, it is difficult to imagine the genocidal tragedy that has dominated Rwandan society since 1994.  A visit to one of the memorials, or a chat with the locals will give any visitor more then their imagination needs to recognize that up to a million people were violently and brutally murdered within a three-month period. 

The horrors that remind us of these mistakes are crucial for society to learn, to reconcile and to rebuild relationships free from the threat of dangerous ideology. This is the challenge facing Rwanda and the larger Great Lakes Region of Africa. Currently living and teaching in the capital of Rwanda, I can see how Kigali has begun to rebuild itself. Rwanda has recently joined the (EAC) East African Community by forming economic ties with its neighboring countries. Now, there is an increasing demand for a variety of skills, including the English language.  

Upon arrival, I began teaching right away. I am here with Network for Africa, (www.network4africa.org), and am working with a number of partner groups. I teach beginners in English Basics, and Special Topics to the advanced students, (business Ideas, C.V. resume write-ups, Excel, PowerPoint, Information Technology, and we also have discussions on global culture, politics, and ideology). The students are very curious about the world, so we discuss many topics.

I am also teaching English for two women's cooperatives in the afternoons. One group, under Aspire Africa, work together to make African beaded jewelry in a beautiful Rwandan style from recycled paper materials. The other group of women call themselves INEZA (Blessing) and work together to make very attractive, colorful handbags. Both groups need to learn the basics in English to sell their products for the income needed to keep their cooperatives going.

****update***

Looks like I will be extending my time here in Rwanda working for Network for Africa. Most of my work is in the form of teaching, training, administration, and as it has turned out, some diplomacy in the form of representing Network for Africa in negotiations with our main partner organization. There is plenty of work for me to do here for N4A, and I have decided to focus my research topic on the unique situation created by Rwanda's current development projects. My focus is Rwanda’s Vision 2020 development goals and the effects of such rapid change on the majority of the population, especially on expropriation….

© Richard Payne 2016