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)