Rotaract, through Rotary has had its own way of framing both the world we live in and the like minded human beings that belong to the global Rotary International family.
Throughout the month of August, and probably the entire year, clubs always work tooth and nail to reach out to more potential members of the family and find better ways of keeping them grounded. (Feel free to call this ‘retaining them’).But this is not all it should take.
Every year, the Rotaract club of Kigali City takes off time to celebrate the individuals that have made things happen through the entire year. You may agree with me that without our clubs’ members, without their unique talents,time and dedication to make their hands dirty, there would be nothing like success for any of these clubs.
All this and the impact it makes on our local communities calls for regular celebration and not simply of our achievements, (because the world, through clubs’ respective communities celebrate these even better), but because of the amazing individuals that willingly chose to belong to our clubs, and bring the best out of what they can deliver.
While we all joined Rotaract for different motives, each one of us mostly stayed because of the value and satsfaction it adds their lives. This could come in form of the impact made by our efforts to different lives, being a part of a decision making chain (make no mistake to underlook it, it’s a biggie for some), and the power of networking at a global level; creating contacts in different parts of the world that sometimes culminate into great friendships, relationships and business partners, among others. Rotaract has given us an opportunity to qualify for these and so many others with no boundaries.
However, we can’t do it solo, because ‘all of us’ will always be better than ‘each of us’. So as we all strive to enjoy the benefits of being attached to this amazing group of people, we all ought to take up a challenge. To look beyond the names of our clubs and the projects we have undertaken or plan to, and instead switch our focus to each and every member of our clubs. And then celebrate what they have been able to bring to the club’s table of success…without a single paycheque for their actions, and yet with a lot of passion.
It only takes a dedicated team of Rotaractors, who are proud of the results of their weekly meetings to inspire other potential Rotaractors join the ‘Service Above Self’ crew. And once they do, a grand entrance into the club is all they deserve, and this is our duty as members of the club. If we strive to make this one memorable, they will actually forget the option of ever taking the exit.
As a matter of fact, this will influence their decision to stay and tell our story to their friends far and wide. So let’s get to work, let’s win hearts. Let’s support Rotary International’s theme of ‘Membership and New Club Development’ . The more we are, the merrier, but also the more ability to create a remarkable difference in this world.
By; Norryn Busingye, Charter President of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City (Kigali, Rwanda)
On a beautiful Saturday evening, the 8th of July 2017, the Kigali weather was in full agreement with the members of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City as they gathered with fellow Rotaractors and friends of the club at Gorillas Hotel, Nyarutarama. The occasion was none other than witnessing the crowning of the 6th President Elect-then, Roger Gasore. Or let’s say, they had come together to bear witness of IPP Yego Amos (who we shall call IPP Yegoshaa)’s peaceful handover of the mantle of the club’s leadership.
Along the streets of the city, members running here and there in search of suits and evening dresses to grace the main occasion and checking to be sure that all is in good shape. The President Elect was one living example of what we are talking about here.
As soon as it was full house, the MCs of the day started their work on a high, getting some of the guests show off their God-given talent. It’s a good thing we had issued a prior warning to all guests not to leave their dancing shoes behind because CP Norryn’s ‘Joke Box’ started off the night’s activities, involving just about everyone (Okay, apart from those that hailed from the high table; and trust me they are still sending thank you-notes for leaving them out). It was both entertaining and educating; some people actually took notes to keep track of the new moves.
By the time President Yegoshaa arose for his last address as the President of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City, all guests had been treated to enough laughter to keep their ribs hurting. He appreciated the fantastic board that worked with him to make the Rotary year 2016-2017 a successful one in the club’s history. In his own words, the President (again, for the last time), appreciated the effort and time invested by each of the board members to ensure that they deliver to the best of their ability in the club responsibilities.
“I would like to appreciate this team of noble men and women, the entire membership of this club and our sister clubs in Rwanda. It’s because of your efforts along with the support from our various sponsors that we made it to the finish line. Without you all, we wouldn’t have achieved as much” – Outgoing President Amos Yego said during his final remarks.
Our Guest of Honor for the day was Gabriel Ekman, a 26 year old gentleman with a background in Project Management and Strategic Communications. He is a Swedish entrepreneur and Managing Director of Bag Innovation, a startup that empowers University students to take up consultancy services for local and international NGOs and assists companies to generate valuable growth for the youth in the company.
By now you know we had just the right person to address the service minded men and women that had joined us this evening, right?
Gabriel lauded the Rwandan youth for their passion for the development of their community and urged Rotaractors to use this as a foundation and develop a new way of thinking, new ideas and creativity in everything they do.
“When you get a new idea, take a risk and develop your idea with a sense of creativity so that it provides a unique solution from what already exists. Let it stand out from the usual.” – Gabriel Ekman remarked as he inspired Rotaractors and their guests.
At this time, all guests are anxiously waiting for the crowning of the man of the evening, a very young man who has already shown us the capability to take the Rotaract club of Kigali City. With the help of Rotarian Thomas Kinyua, IPP Yegoshaa peacefully handed over the instruments of power to now, President Roger Gasore (Drumrolls) who immediately took to the podium.
Installation of President Roger by the Guest of Honor
Handing over IPP Amos to President Roger
The President had a little something for everyone as he shared about his journey as a Rotaractor alongside other leadership experience.
“I always believe that my purpose as a person is to make a difference in someone’s life, creating in them a positive impact that will leave them motivated” – President Roger said while giving the main speech of the day.
The President shared that his inspiration is the story of the humming bird that he heard from the late Wangari Mathaai. In this story, a forest was burning down and all the animals just stood by and watched it burn. But the humming bird was flying to and fro the river with a droplet of water to put out the fire. The other animals startled, told the humming bird how crazy it is to think that it could put out that fire with just a droplet of water, and it humbly responded that it’s just doing its best.
As a moral of the story, President Roger urged everyone to always try their best to make a difference and impact lives out there positively.
The beautiful event was ended on a high with an awesome presentation from the hosts themselves, the members of the Rotaract club of Kigali City! And then…the Presidential dance opening up the dance floor, featuring none other than the beautiful Vice President. My dear, this was just to confirm that we have no two-left legged humans among us. And yes, because you asked, we shall of course line up another show soon.
After a long night of fun, both RCKC and Rotaract Kabale members couldn’t get their heads up on Sunday morning until it was midday. And this was the beginning of sightseeing around the beautiful city of Kigali until we saw them off! Thank you Rotaract Kabale for always rolling with us!
And the rest of you, watch out for the year of awesomeness…Powered by the Rotaract Club of Kigali City!
Enjoy some of the moments that we shared at that awesome event.
On a sunny Saturday morning of the 1st April 2017, all roads for Rotaractors both in Rwanda along with our guests from the Rotaract Club of Kabale (that for some reason we shall call ‘the land of 100 hills’) were leading to Centre Marembo in Ndera village in the outskirts of Kigali.
Rotaractors from the land of 100 hills started off this day in the land of a thousand hills in the name of service to the community. It was great excitement for many as they had anticipated their visit to the beautiful city of Kigali for a couple of months. Back in Kigali the Rotaractors from the Rotaract Club of Kigali city were busy running up and down looking for ‘chakula’ to cook for the beautiful children at the centre. And others patiently waiting for the people from Kabale to welcome them.
…Now for those who turned up early, what I am about to say will make a lot of sense…
All was going well until, well, as the saying goes, ‘never let a woman be your compass to a certain destination otherwise you’ll get lost’. I am actually not sure of the sources but I because I heard the same from a Rotarian(wink wink), let’s take it as a gospel truth.
Guess what, Rotaractors did get lost and found themselves in other people’s shambas and yet directions given before were clear(let’s not mention names here), but that’s just the tip of the ice berg. That was not enough, even those tasked to guide the Rotaractors from Kabale got lost who knows where and how till some few hours later, a rescue crew was sent to collect them. They really set the ice breaker for the day’s event. So, the inside story on this one could be for another day, perhaps one of those fine Fridays you may show up for our weekly fellowship at Zuri Restaurant.
Rotaractors from Kabale finally arrived along with the rest, and we received them with warm hugs, laughter and excitement. Wow! the children from Centre Marembo were full of joy waiting for what’s ahead. As Rotaractors offloaded the children’s package from the truck, the children were kept in anticipation of what would we got for them in stock.
Welcoming remarks from the Assistant Director of the centre kicked off the day, and our Community Service Director, aka, project manager took us through the agenda of the day. This officially opened up a bunch of fun filled activities through the entire day with the wonderful children. Rotaractors took charge, split up into groups, with some to play with the kids and others in charge of the ‘chakula’ in the kitchen. (Maximum respect to the latter, they always make crowds speak in tongues).
What’s that aroma, yum yum, ahh it’s the kitchen. All was going well with the ‘chakula’ even as the quality of firewood played tricks of refreshing our cooking skills, slowing down the whole process. (But you see, lest you say we are bad workmen blaming it on the tools, we leave this one here).
The idea of games was very brilliant as the fun crew managed to keep children busy as tried to beat the lunch timeline. Speaking of games, the day was marked by a serios eating competition with Rotaractors represented by the delegate from the Rotaract Club of Karura – Kenya (Ibaze nawe!). Unfortunately the young girls were so talented in dancing to this tune of eating that they took all the fans to their side and they managed to beat Rotaractors and took the prize.
As food was served, the project manager felt a huge relief as she had started feeling pressure piling up on her with more than 100 hunger craving youths. But the Pilau, Chapatti, and wait for it…meat was just worth the wait and awesome for everybody. Not excluding the ‘matumbo crew’ – these they will introduce themselves later.
At sunset, with everyone tire of the games and celebrating the crew’s cooking skills, it was time to say the sad goodbyes to the children. Testimonies and words of encouragement closed the day.
“We would like to appreciate the management of Marembo Centre for allowing us to spend our day with the children. We would never have asked for any better way of spending our day. In the same spirit of Service Above Self, thank you Rotaract Kabale for walking with us in the journey of making a difference in these children’s lives.” – President Amos Yego aka Yegoshaa as remarked as we bid farewell to the hosting team.
And au revoir, as Rotaractors hugged and said their goodbyes to the children.
Our appreciation goes to all our sponsors for their contribution and participation in this project. Without each of you, the success of this project would still be in the pipeline.
Thank you to AC GROUP(Tap and Go cards), the Rotary Club of Doyen, the Rotary club of Kigali-Virunga, Rotaract Club Kabale-Uganda, Rotaract Club KIE, Rotaract Club SFB-Kigali, Rotaract Club Karura-Kenya, Rotaract club Nairobi Central, Rotary Club Kampala Central and Interactors from Kagarama. And to our own International Service Director (the man himself, aka Deno), for going out if his way to facilitate us with transport. And to our very own, the members of the Rotaract club of Kigali City, you are the best crew ever! You all demonstrated Service Above Self.
Wait, it’s not yet over. In appreciation of everyone that was still around, the after-project (because service comes along with fun), was in one of Gisimenti famous joints and what happened there stayed there my friends. Late in the nights the beautiful people from Kabale recalled that they had to go back home and they randomly set back on their journey safely. (And ladies and gentlemen, this is when we learnt that they are cool like that).
About Marembo Centre
Centre Marembo is a centre for young girls of ages below 18years that have undergone child abuse, child neglect and rape by their own family members. The centre accommodates over 75 kids who have been picked from the streets by the government and given assistance in recovering from this trauma through counselling and psychological assistance. Every child deserves a right to be loved, to shelter, food family and education, and in respect to this, the Rotaract Club of Kigali City and the Rotaract Club of Kabale – Uganda joined hands to spend time with the young girls at the center and have fun with them through games, sharing experiences and testimonies from both sides along with words of encouragement.
Nothing ever pays back like a day spent creating a smile on somebody else’ face! And ours was a big pay checque!
Spelling bee(bee emogi) coming soon.
The author is the President Elect of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City (2017-2018)
“I must say this is a great start for our two clubs. If we can seal off this project today, then the Kigali session will be even greater. Thank you Rotaract club of Kabale for allowing us to be part of this noble treat for the children.” – Amos Yegosha – President, Rotaract Kigali City (2016-2017)
November 25, 2016– On a chilly Friday evening, in the name of service to the world -the very ambition of Rotary International, – members from the Rotaract club of Kigali City, in the massive company of the Rotaract club of SFB-Kigali invaded the hilly Kabale region.
The purpose for this trip was none other than joining the partners in service, the Rotaract club of Kabale Community based in making time to reach out to the needy children of the Kabale Regional Referral Hospital. This time was round the choice was made on those children who have been infected by HIV. Well, not that you would tell if I didn’t mention, because the smiles on their faces leaves nothing behind but life and hope. But listening to the stories they tell, that’s when you realise that the problems you face may sometimes be an opportunity on the other side of life.
So well, team Kigali City was led by the man himself, President Amos Yego (you can actually call him Yegoshaa, lately it features on his National ID anyway). The Kigali-Kabale trek that started on Friday evening ended at a destination that seemed unknown to many of them (well, at least until Saturday, 3 am). Our journey was full of nothing but adventure; starting from the private jet’s to the mesmerising story authored by one of our very own members (let’s call him ‘freedom fighter’). I will save you the details of this mesmerizing journey for now but if readers provoke enough, its worth a separate post.
But by the time we landed, everyone of us thought all they deserved was good sleep, and probably a warm bed.
By the time of arrival, some of our guys were up and about looking in all possible spots for an early hot cup of tea and a Rolex, the famous snack in Uganda you have probably heard about.
Fast forward to Saturday morning, we were received by #TeamKabale who treated us to the best delicacies that we had to share with children. The day was largely decorated by a sharing session with the children. The time we spent with these children was simply magical.
In his introduction remarks, Mwebembezi Johnson, the Senior Councillor of the referral hospital gave us a brief background of the children in this hospital and appreciated the initiative by Rotaract club of Kabale for choosing to work with the hospital.
“This i really a great initiative. We are very grateful that, of all needy groups of people in Kabale, this Rotaract club chose the children in this hospital. Thank you for thinking about us in this special way. Many of the children in this hospital are victims of abuse inflicted on them by old men. As a parent, I would like to appreciate the Rotaract clubs for such an initiative and thought of the children in this hospital i such a special way. ” – Mr. Mwebembezi Johnson, the senior Counsellor, at the Kabale Referral Hospital.
In his remarks, Johnson also called upon parents to hold each other responsible for their role in preventing the widespread of HIV among children in Kabale. He also urged parents to support all their children’s education equally to avoid their being idle.
Our massive appreciation goes to the awesome people from the Rotaract clubs of SFB-Kigali, Karura (Nairobi) Lake Victoria (Uganda) for the support. Yours was a contribution that we would never take for granted. Our revenge will be in order.
And to the members of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City, you are the best bunch of people around town!
For a preview of how things unfolded.
After the project, Rotaractors couldn’t avoid swinging by the famous Lake Bunyonyi resort beach for adventure, sight seeing and fun. But again, we were told what happens at this spot simply ends there. Kindly save your curiosity for the details of what transpired.
On the 18th of June 2016, the Rotaract club of Kigali city (RCKC), successfully conducted a spelling competition, dubbed “Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016”. The contest, the very first one of its kind in the city of Kigali, was conducted at King David Academy brought together 70 participants from seven (7) high schools in Rwanda, out of whom 21 students were able to beautifully display their extra-ordinary spelling skills. The participating schools were; King David Academy, the hosting school, Lycee de Kigali, La Colombiere, New Life School (Kayonza), FAWE Girls’ School, Kagarama Secondary School and Green Hills Academy.
The spelling competition was the very first one to involve a number of schools in Rwanda and was hosted under the theme, “Spelling your way to success”. Before the beginning of the competition, students were cautioned that the competition was not only about who would win or lose but also to help them enrich their English vocabulary, public speaking skills, self-confidence as well as empower them with the ability to deliver a given task under pressure.
Students were also reminded that for as long as they were among those chosen to represent their respective schools, their efforts were highly valued. The main rule of the competition was to be able to spell a word right for the first time.
Each of the participants were allowed to practice words falling in the categories of Family, Education and Sports. Among all the 21 participants, David Kato expressed extraordinary spelling skills, emerging as the only person we were searching for…The Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016 Champion. As he walked away with a mega trophy, he along with the other top four winners of the contest were awarded with a year’s membership at the Kigali Public Library. The other contestants were awarded, each with a dictionary, courtesy of Grace Rwanda to further enhance their spelling as well as reading skills. The fair judgement was a decision of two fine judges; Judge Floriane, a Rotarian from the Rotary club of Minnesota, and Judge Roger, a Rotaractor from the Rotaract Club of Kigali City.
During his remarks, Past President Raj Rajendran who presided over the event commended efforts by the Rotaract Club of Kigali City to bring together students in such an educating competition. He also commended all student that participated in this competition reminding them that it will help them to lay foundation to a rich culture of reading. On behalf, of the Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga, he also pledged full support towards scaling up the spelling competitions to include the participation of other schools.
RCKC President, Faridah Kamariza also extended her appreciation to the participating schools for their cooperation and support, pledging on behalf of the club, that more efforts will be consolidated to make the spelling competitions even bigger in the coming years. She also promised that the competition will be held on an annual basis and it will be hosted on rotational basis by all the participating schools to foster a better relationship between different schools as well as interaction amongst students.
Through the Spelling Bee project, the Rotaract Club of Kigali City intends to make a difference in Rwandan communities through contributing to Rotary International’s area of focus, “Basic Education and Literacy”. With the success of the Spelling project, the club will also be in a good position to promote the culture of reading among secondary school students within the country. Our appreciation goes to Grace Rwanda, the Kigali Public Library, Rotary Club de Kigali, Rotary Club of Kigali Virunga as well as the entire Rotary family for their invaluable support towards the success of Spelling Bee Rwanda 2016.
Every Rotaract club is as strong as the activity of its members. That’s why it’s not random to find a club with fewer members outperforming another with more registered members. Every person who for any reason finds himself at a Rotaract club fellowship is a potential active member. All it requires is to convince him to come again and eventually stay- if he is deemed Rotaract at heart (a person who is/ can be useful to society- basically one who is not a thief or conman, etc).
From the time a potential member is identified to the time that person becomes a super active member of a club, there must be care in understanding him and weighing up whether his values can match with the Rotaract values. If you recruit a conman into the club for example, chances are that he will not make a good treasurer. When choosing potential members, go for people who live lives that can benefit the community.
After identification and bringing the member to your first club meeting or project, you need to convince him that he is at the right place. Make him feel at home, serve him club material (info that he can read later on such as what Rotaract is about, what your club is about, etc). Have fun fellowships and projects. That way, visitors might want to visit again especially if they understood the Rotaract material you gave out at first.
At the end of the first fellowship/ project, the club should assign someone (the person who introduced the visitors is a good idea) to follow up by phone or physically and find out the person’s experience. That feedback is useful in making the club more attractive to visitors. What the visitor didn’t like can be improved upon and what he liked can be continued.
Once a visitor has become frequent and developed an active liking for the club, a mentor should be assigned by the club to prepare him for induction and life as a Rotaractor. The mentor must be one very knowledgeable in Rotary/ Rotaract matters and a person who commands the respect of other members. A mentor can be a board member or ordinary member as long as he is knowledgeable about the club and its values.
The mentor must commit a lot of her time to the visitor, getting to know him to as personal a level as he is comfortable with and teaching them about all Rotaract ethics to the point that the visitor shows a (positive or negative- but a reaction) reaction to the club. Answer questions and give examples. There’s lots of material on the web. For as long as the visitor is not ready, stay the induction until such a time as he has proven to understand- in recital and actions- the pillars of the Rotaract Club. If he has started queuing up for project assignments, you have a useful member-in waiting on your hands.
A person such as above, once inducted will be a useful asset, able to transform the club and bring ideas that improve it. That person will be in position to represent the club’s interests with minimal supervision and mentor others.
If you made mistakes and recruited without mentorship, there’s still time. Organize mentorship workshops for your club members and have a few senior Rotarians and Rotaractors speak to members about Rotary and the values it stands for. Also encourage your members to read widely.
A Rotaract club that counts more on quantity rather than quality of members is bound to go extinct so, from the Rotaract Club of Kigali City we ask you- how is your club doing, member by member?
We did it again….Yes! last weekend we were at it again.
Saturday the 29th August 2015, a good number of good jolly fellows set off from Kigali at around 1:00 pm.
Destination was somewhere in Rwamagana district, the Eastern side of Rwanda. For all the good reasons, members of the Rotaract Club of Kigali City were heading to the Mwulire Diabetes Centre for the club’s quarterly visit to the children battling the disease. Her Excellency, President Faridah Kamariza did well enough to make sure that Rotaractors don’t upset the local leaders; we all had to first get down to our “Umuganda” chores in our neighborhoods (read “Umudugudu”) and then hit the road for the visit to our little friends. Our journey was spiced up by all types of hilarious stuff and surely before we knew it, we were at the Diabetes centre in Mwulire. Only that is a living testimony that Rotaract brings together misplaced talent.
Fast forward to our arrival at the centre, we were given a special treat, with all the children assembled to entertain us on arrival. This only reminded me of the early school days when we had to learn a newly composed song and dance for almost every guest that showed up at school.
The only difference is that this time, Rotaractors couldn’t watch from a distance without mingling with the kids, showing off their almost forgotten talents.
By the time food time was announced, some of these good fellows had really had a workout and many of us were more concerned on the extra input for them to rejuvenate their used up energy.
The children shared, each one telling us about where they came from before getting to the center, how long they have battled Diabetes, their families’ reaction to their situation and the challenges they face while at the centre. The details of all this was mind-blowing as some of them were actually brave enough to say that their parents have still not found it easy to contain after others managed to accept it and move on.
While at it, the Rotaract Presidents and the only outgoing and incoming guide Rotarian started unleashing their mind-blowing speeches. Not to forget that all these had to be in our local language, “Kinyarwanda”, so that all the kids are could pick the communication. I bet you know what I am talking about here. Some people had to forge out new versions for the day. Bu there will be no name calling, we all live in glass houses lately….just in-case they all live to read this post. But if I must say we might use an interpreter next time. If I am to continue with the story of what transpired at the during this one session, I could go on until the chicken come home, so let’s leave it at that for now.
All the Rotaractors presented the good goodies to the 20 children’s caretakers, reminding you that we had all carried clothes to donate to the children as well as the bank cheque to cater for all the children’s medical insurance. Rotarian Sam then managed to conduct a brainstorming session on how to handle the little challenges faced by the children and this paid off when we got a lineup of possible solutions.
We were then off to our shuttle, making sure that we had to leave early enough so that we are just in good time for the sleepover and home hospitality, at one of our member’s house. The principle was just one…What happens at the home hospitality ends there. So I am not about to be punched after telling you what happened there.
All in all, it was a project well attended and an afternoon well spent. We couldn’t trade it for anything better.
Because RCKC never walks alone, we will log in our sincere appreciation to the Rotaract Clubs of SFB – Kigali and Kigali Institute of Education (KIE) and our mother club, the Rotary Club of Kigali-Virunga that sent representatives to be with us throughout our project. Your presence in every one of our spots always keeps your clubs’ names in our good books.
Massive thanks for everyone who spared their time and efforts to make this milestone in RCKC’s noble pledge of kicking Diabetes out of Rwanda.