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Azizi Life Experiences

Azizi Life Experiences

If you wish to experience life in rural Rwanda in a practical way, Azizi Life Experiences offers exactly what you need. Azizi Life Experiences is a unique social enterprise that gives visitors an opportunity to connect and gain insight into day to day lives of rural Rwandans. Through their involvement in a wide range of cultural practices and economic activities of the local communities, tourists get to learn important aspects of the rich Rwandan cultural heritage.

Azizi Life is currently offering a distinctive 6 days package. However, a visitor is free to request for a plan tailored to suit his/her specific interests and time. Through Azizi Life Experiences, travelers participate in weaving, construction, brewing, cooking, dancing and exploration of magnificent landscapes. Visitors are involved in household chores like cleaning and fetching water from the valley. They also milk cows, gather grass for livestock and engage in other agricultural tasks. They share meals and stories with members of their host families.

For a long time, rural women in Rwanda have been engaged in subsistence farming. Land is scarce in this densely populated country and the rapid increase in population presents further challenges in land management. African women, especially those residing in rural areas have had limited opportunities. Lack of skills, capital and entrepreneurial mindset are common challenges hindering improvement of the livelihoods of rural women across the continent. Through tourism, Azizi Life supports weavers in an effort to boost their income. Women across the country are weaving their way out of poverty. Their baskets are neatly woven and command a good market both in Rwanda and abroad. Visitors who opt to spend a day with artisans, are taught how to harvest materials, prepare natural fibers and create their own souvenirs.

In the traditional construction department, participants fetch water and gather soil. With help from experienced builders they produce mud bricks and lay foundations of houses. Then they proceed to raise walls. Finally, construction workers collect banana leaves out of which strong ropes are made. The ropes are used to lash wood together and produce roofing materials.

Traditionally, banana wine is served during weddings and other important celebrations. In this expedition, you can participate in the process of converting a fruit into a drink. The work begins with collection of bananas and leaves. Then a hole is dug and bananas are buried and left in the hole for four days. Visitors do not have to wait for four days to complete the procedure. There are always previously buried bananas ready for extraction. Ripe bananas are dug out of the ground, peeled, mashed and strained. With Azizi Life Experiences, you can make your own drink.

A cooking day is kicked off by a visit to the field to harvest fresh ingredients for the meal. Food preparation involves washing, peeling, pounding and grinding food components using traditional methods and tools. A visitor does the work under a watchful eye of his instructor. Good food and wine is complimented by music. Entertainment begins with a mini performance from a troupe of traditional dancers before visitors have their own fair share of dancing in traditional outfits.

Traveller’s Diary (2nd issue)

Malindi Expedition

This was an impromptu trip. Someone I knew needed to hire a driver to drive his car from the port of Mombasa to Kigali. Driving from Mombasa to Kigali is tempting to any member of Team Adventure. Getting paid to do so was irresistible to me. Driving is not my job but adventure is my business.

The car I was hired to drive to Kigali was shipped to Mombasa aboard Jolly Cristallo, an Italian vessel with over 50,000 gross tonnage. For reasons I didn’t bother to ask, Jolly Cristallo spent more time on the high seas than expected arriving two days behind schedule. Shipping companies tend to find good excuses every time a delay is experienced. They are quick to mention bad weather conditions or congestion at the port directing the blame to someone else.

Jolly Cristallo’s two extra days en route to Mombasa meant two waiting days for me. While waiting for Jolly Cristallo’s arrival and completion of clearing procedures, I looked for adventure in the Swahili Republic.

I had been to Mombasa many times before but the only parts of the city I was familiar with were the northern beach and Nyali area. During my many previous visits, I used to stay at Traveller’s Beach Hotel and hang out at Sheba Lounge until late. The beach and Sheba Lounge consumed all the time I had spent in Mombasa during my previous trips. This time though, I chose to do something different.

I decided to visit a place I had never visited before. For starters, I ditched my beloved Sheba Lounge. Nightlife drains my energy and limits my day activities. Yes, I opted to sleep at night and make the most out of my two days. After all, Traveller’s rooms are in a class of their own. It was about time I start using the room I pay to sleep in. How on earth does someone pay for a room and spend a whole night somewhere else ? That someone was me before this particular trip.

After a good night’s sleep, I was ready to embark on a new expedition. It took me some time to settle for what to do. I entertained several ideas before making the decision I will never regret. I rented a motorcycle and rode 120 kilometers to Malindi Bay at the mouth of Galana River.

The furthest I had ever gone north of Mombasa was Vipingo Ridge where I spent a memorable Easter weekend in 2012. Vipingo Ridge is arguably Kenya’s most distinguished coastal retreat village. From the PGA Baobab Course to the lakes, woodland areas, tennis courts and swimming pools. This massive investment epitomises luxury holidays and world-class retreat environment. Beyond the Vipingo Ridge junction, I was riding the rented sporty Kawasaki in a completely new territory. No GPS, no map, no problem. All I had to do is keep riding north until I reach a town known as Malindi. The Mombasa-Malindi highway spans a hundred plus kilometers adjacent the Indian ocean and the view of the blue water and light waves kept popping up every now and then. On the other side of the road, I saw big sisal plantations, processing industries and scattered settlements.

Travelling in a vehicle is like watching a movie but riding a motorcycle feels like staring in it. It was a sunny beautiful day. As usual the temperature was high but cool breeze from the ocean was soothing. I was equipped with appropriate riding gear cruising like Giacomo Agostini in the Moto Grand Prix.

Malindi is a small town. I rode up and down the streets trying to observe as much as I could. I had lunch at a small restaurant serving mainly Swahili food on Jamhuri street. Swahili culture and Muslim values were evident every where. As it is the case in other East African coastal towns, the Swahili dialect spoken in Malindi is different from mainstream Swahili spoken elsewhere in the region. Neighbourhoods are shabby and apparent signs of poverty can easily be noticed. Malindi folks do things at their own pace. They don’t seem to be in a hurry. They are laid back and relaxed.

There is another side of Malindi which shows a completely different image. At a glance, the coastline portrays a luxurious and glamorous life. White sandy beaches, gentle ocean waves and tropical coconut trees gave me a fairly tale description of this resort town. A lot of money has been invested in the hospitality industry but sadly, most of those magnificent hotels I saw at the beach looked empty. The Billionaire Resort with an estimated cost of $ 5.5 million looked deserted and abandoned. Tourism had not yet recovered since western governments announced travel advisories after a series of terror attacks in Kenya. Security concerns kept visitors away and as a result, the economy was hit hard.

There are lavish apartments at the beach, most of which are occupied by Italian immigrants. Most hotels, night clubs and casinos are owned by Italians. In 2014, The Africa Report published an article depicting Malindi as “Little Italy in Africa.” For a long time, Italians in search of the African sun have been travelling to Malindi, setting up businesses, building hotels and settling there. The Billionaire Resort is owned by a flamboyant Italian tycoon, Flavio Briatore and the facility has hosted famous Italians including former Prime Minister and proprietor of AC Milan Silvio Berlusconi.

There is a strong Italian imprint in Malindi. From the bodaboda taxi operators and curio sellers to bank tellers, property agents and hotel employees, every one speaks Italian. I was informed that lawyers draft contracts in Swahili and Italian. Malindi has had foreign influence for a long time. Since Vasco da Gama dropped anchor at the port in 1498 and erected a pillar to commemorate his arrival, this Kenyan coastal town has been under the grip of one foreign community after another. The Portuguese were followed by Arabs and Britons before Italians arrived.

I was tempted to visit Vasco da Gama’s monument and other historical sites but I ended up spending two hours in the ocean. I paid for one-hour jet skiing experience and I was allowed to use the aquatic motorbike for an extra bonus hour. That gave me enough time to patrol the entire coastal strip of Malindi. A view of the town from the ocean is comparable to Acapulco Bay or Miami but depressing poverty is hidden by the glittering beach properties. There is a poverty-stricken neighbourhood behind every posh hotel. I wished I had more time to explore more of Malindi but I had to ride the Kawasaki back to Mombasa and return it to the rental company before sunset.
Posted on December 26, 2016
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NIGHTLIFE

NIGHT OWLS OF KAMPALA

kampala-nightlife-01

Violence and political turmoil crippled Uganda’s tourism in the past but having banished its warlords and revived the economy, Uganda is attracting tourists again. The Pearl of Africa boasts an incredible array of landscapes ranging from snow-capped mountains and the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the semi-desert northeast and the water spangled lake district. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to a healthy breed of elephants, lions and hippos. Kampala, the capital of Uganda is East Africa’s vibrant entertainment focal point. The city stays busy when the sun goes down and a lot of transactions take place before sunrise.

A couple of years ago, I traveled to Kampala by bus and arrived in the middle of the night. Upon arrival, I took a cab to Nasser Road to print booklets for a client. Nasser Road, in downtown Kampala is a printing economic zone. Commercial buildings on both sides of the busy street contain numerous printing units operating 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.

When I was negotiating with printing services providers at 1 am, it was business as usual elsewhere. Drivers were busy ferrying people from one point to another. Many bodaboda riders, bartenders, cashiers, artists, bouncers, hawkers, DJs and police officers were busy taking care of business. As usual, night spots across the city were packed beyond capacity.

When someone was printing my work at 2 am, a lot of people out there were moving from one club to another. For some reasons, Kampala party animals tend to make a series of short visits to different night clubs in one night. These club hoppers pay entrance fees, buy a round or two and exit the club in search of the next spot, acting like they haven’t found what they are looking for.

As I mentioned earlier, clubs in Kampala are usually overcrowded. While space in these clubs is scarce, it is common to see half of the club reserved for special customers. The VIP area may be as big as the rest of the club, but it is normally occupied by very few people who feel important. They buy expensive bottles and waiters deliver their orders in style. Every delivery is celebrated with fireworks drawing attention from ordinary citizens fighting for oxygen on the other side of the club. DJs have a tendency to mention names of the so called important people in the club and acknowledging their presence, making their heads even bigger. Management deploys troops of bouncers in black suits separating the VIP section from the rest.

When someone was binding my booklets at 3 am, college girls were flashing shots of tequila and some inflammable red and green liquids. Drink like a fish and smoke like a chimney is their slogan. They wear high heels and skimpy dresses revealing 90% of their bodies. They dance provocatively and mess with men old enough to be their fathers.The loud music includes dancehall, Afro pop and plenty of their very own Ugandan tunes. A few places play my favourite old school R n B and Hip Hop.

Popular night spots include Guvnor, Cayenne, Red 1, Just Kickin, The Wine Garage, Bubbles O’Leary’s and Fusion. I am sure there are many more I have not noticed and visited. Besides, new hang out joints sprout up everyday in this city that never sleep.
Posted on December 6, 2016
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DESTINATION OF THE MONTH

BISOKE CRATER

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Mount Bisoke is a result of a series of volcanic eruptions that have been taking place in north-western Rwanda and eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) since time immemorial. Standing at 12,175 feet above sea level, Bisoke offers great hiking adventure. An eruption in 1957 formed a bowl-like structure which contain Lake Ngenzi. Wonders never cease.

Hiking to the lake takes 3 to 4 hours. Walking around the lake is highly recommended but swimming is prohibited. Mount Bisoke is an active volcano found in the Virunga Mountain Range of the Albertine Rift, the western branch of the East African Rift. It straddles the boarder of Rwanda and the DRC but the lake and the summit are both located in Rwanda.

Volcano National Park is known for Gorilla trekking but there is much more to be discovered here. Bisoke’s steep slopes are densely covered by an equatorial rain forest and alpine meadows. The summit does not gather snow but it is often foggy.
Posted on December 5, 2016
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SPECIAL REPORT

TOURISM PROMOTERS TURN TO LUCRATIVE CONFERENCES

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Globally, conference tourism is one of the fastest growing sub sectors of regular tourism. Hosting high level meetings is proven to be a very rewarding enterprise. In 2013, Singapore hosted 3.5 million conference delegates from all parts of the world and earned $ 5.5 billion in revenue. Many African countries see Singapore as a model of development. In its development agenda, Rwanda seems to have copied a page from Singapore’s manuscript. The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) established in 2008 to fast track development is a replica of Singapore Economic Development Board. There is nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from successful people. As a matter of fact, turning a blind eye to a course of action that delivers desirable results is unwise.

Like Singapore, a number of other countries have achieved a swift advance from third world status to developed economies. At the center of Southern Asia, between the two giants namely China and India, Malaysia has positioned its presence as a gateway to Asia. With a dynamic economy and English-speaking population, Malaysia has successfully become an international conference hub. Anette Palm, a director at the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) says Malaysians have developed progressive world-views and their country is where the world convenes to find new discoveries and ideas. “World-class infrastructure, great value for money and a unique window to Asian cultures and hospitality make Malaysia the meetings and conventions nexus of Asia”. He adds.

MyCEB was formed in 2009 to raise Malaysia’s status as an international business events destination and develop the national product. Development of conference tourism commands hefty investment in infrastructure. Malaysia’s capital, Kuala Lumpur is setting the pace with a number of new developments including the expansion of Kuala Lumpur Convention Center. The center stands proudly alongside the famous Petronas Twin Towers, hotels, restaurants and a number of other eye-catching attractions.

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The global MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibition) industry is worth $ 30 billion according to the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA). Conference tourists are funded by their organisations and governments, hence bringing higher disposable income. Many local businesses benefit from these meetings. Conference delegations are a blessing to hotels, restaurants, entertainment spots, tour operators and travel agencies among others. Many more sectors of the economy reap huge benefits from these events.

Governments and private financiers are investing substantial amounts of money on conference facilities. The Kigali Convention Center is a product of investment made by multiple stakeholders including Crystal Venture, Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB), Rwanda Investment Group (RIG) and the government through Prime Holdings. Valued at over $ 300 million, the center consists of a 5-star hotel, a conference hall, several other meeting rooms and an office park. This investment is a testament of a strong commitment to transform Rwanda into an international conference magnet.

Neighbouring countries within the East Africa Community are also working hard to market themselves as ideal locations for conferences. The Kenya Tourism Board (KTB) and the Kenyatta International Conference Center (KICC) have recognised the importance of conference tourism to the country’s economic growth and in enhancing its brand equity. In 2015, 117,670 delegates, representing 15.6% of the total international tourist arrivals attended conferences in Kenya making this East African country the third biggest conference tourism destination in Africa behind South Africa and Morocco. The sub sector is expected to perform even better in 2016. Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala projects that conference visitors will hit 130,000 by the end of the year.

Recently, Kenya’s regular tourism numbers declined as a result of an economic downturn and a surge in insecurity. Facing uncertainties in the fate of the country’s top income earner, Kenya turned to bidding for the rights to host international conferences and the strategy helped to plug the revenue gap. Conference tourism is emerging as a top foreign exchange earner in Kenya. The Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) held in August was attended by 37 heads of state and over 10,000 delegates. Last year, Nairobi hosted the WTO Ministerial Conference and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. Additionally, Nairobi welcomed the world during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July 2015, presided over by the US president Barack Obama.

The meeting business is profitable. This realisation has prompted most African countries to pitch for international conferences. Rwanda is a new kid on the block when it comes to hosting major international meetings but the country is known for making rapid progress in priority areas. Rwandans have seen potential in conference tourism and by throwing all the resources they can muster into attracting more meetings, the land of 1000 hills will undoubtedly be hosting more and more business visitors. Over the past two years, Rwanda has hosted a number of high level international conferences including the 49th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank, the World Economic Forum and the African Union Summit. With the completion of the Kigali Convention Center and the set up of the newly-formed Rwanda Conference Bureau (RCB), there is no doubt this momentum will be amplified.
Posted on December 2, 2016
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COVER STORY

NYUNGWE NATIONAL PARK : SEA OF FLORA AND FAUNA

Located in the South Western corner of Rwanda, Nyungwe National Park is home to habituated chimpanzees and other primate species, including 400 troops of Ruwenzori Colobus. Apart from chimps, Nyungwe is a dwelling place of more than 300 species of birds and a wide variety of mammals.

I visited Nyungwe with a group of ardent local tourists determined to explore what the dense rain forest can offer. It was a quick weekend gate away that turned out to be an unforgettable experience. On the way to Nyungwe, tourists can visit the King’s Palace Museum and the Ethnographic Museum located in Nyanza and Huye respectively.

Camping in the middle of the forest was like staring in a horror movie. After a night of bonding, playing games and very little sleep, we headed to Uwinka tourism office and as soon as we completed registration requirements, we proceeded to Gisakura near the magnificent Nyungwe Forest Lodge.

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We strolled down a steep trail on the floor of the forest. It felt like being out of this world. One trip advisor reviewer who introduced himself as Kseniya said he felt like Tarzan in the wild jungle, referring to a character in an action adventure film. The trail is so narrow that we had to march on a single file creating a very long line. Behind us, another line was formed by a group of foreign tourists. The twist and turn parade down the deep valley was both thrilling and scary. We were completely swallowed by the forest and as we moved deeper the trail got darker, moist and slippery. I have a feeling reptiles inhabiting this dense forest have never seen the sun.

I was walking at the end of our group’s line. A bunch of bazungu extended the long line behind me. I could hear them mentioning black, white and blue monkeys. In my wildest imaginations, I never thought monkeys are also divided along racial lines. We moved faster than the group behind us for one obvious reason, unlike our foreign counterparts, we were not studying monkeys and birds on the way to the water falls. That explains why we never noticed their racial differences.

nyungwe-dweller

The site of the water falls is spectacular. When we finally arrived, excitement was in the air. We saw a powerful stream flowing vertically creating whirlpools, turbulence and vapour. Over time, velocity is likely to dig deeper and increase the length of this stunning attraction. Our time keeper had a hard time persuading the group to leave when it was time to do so. Trekking back to Gisakura was a physically challenging task. If you are planning to visit this attraction, you better start using that gym membership you have been wasting.

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After lunch, we embarked on yet another awe-inspiring expedition – the Canopy Walk. Walking 60 meters above Nyungwe forest is one of the most thrilling things I have ever done in my life. It is the reality version of movies in the 5th dimension. Earlier during that eventful day, we explored the forest from the bottom. Then the canopy walkway gave us an opportunity to see the forest from above. The bridge made of ropes and metal shakes with every step you make. At some point, I thought the whole thing would turn upside down. Half way through the bridge, the butterflies had calmed down and I felt at ease. I took a deep breath and hoped I was not dreaming. I will never forget a girl who screamed her lungs out while holding the ropes firmly. She was scared to death but when she managed to reach the other side of the canopy, she wanted to do it all over again.

nyungwe

Nyungwe National Park is an astonishing destination. Activities within the park are affordable especially for Rwandans and citizens of other East African states. Traveling for leisure is a way of rewarding yourself after days, weeks, months and years of hard work. It is important to recharge your battery every now and then. It renews your energy and refreshes your mind. Look for that next adventure, get lost in eccentric places, observe and study the world around you.

Traveling enables you to create a treasure box of memories that last a lifetime. When you travel with your loved ones, you create and share memories that bind you together and enhances your cohesion. It is common for counselors to prescribe a trip for couples who are going through turbulent times. Many have testified that visiting attractions as a couple saved their marriages. Family bonding is more effective on a trip. The same can be said about organisations. That’s why retreats are recommended by professionals.
Posted on November 30, 2016
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LIFESTYLE

HOOPS ADDICTION

street-ball

It’s a hot Friday afternoon at Shooters Club in Kigali, Rwanda. Two basketball teams are playing an intense pick up game. Five other players are seated court side waiting for their turn to play. The first team to score 11 points wins and earns an opportunity to play against the next group. Game 11, as they call it is a win or sit affair. The competition is informal and rules are less enforced but winning is everything.

“I usually play here every Friday from 7 to 8 pm but today, I came early and played with the 3 pm group. They are younger and more dynamic. I am not used to the afternoon heat and the young fellas’ pace but I guess I was not a liability to my team”. Said Patrick, an employee of the Ministry of Justice. Patrick, like many other street ball players, turn to basketball for an emotional lift and blowing off steam after work.

Regular ballers have an addictive relationship with playground hoops. They tend to see their local basketball court the same way people see their local bars. Street ball blogger, Thomas Beller runs to the court in the evening to play ball often. The running part helps him to warm up but there is more to it than simply warming up.”It always feels like I am running away from something or running to catch something. There is desperation in that run”. He says.

One Rwandair cabin crew member told Exposure that he goes to Club La Palisse to play ball whenever he finds some free time between flights. Sometimes he shows up at odd hours when there is no one to play with. It doesn’t matter to him. When that happens, he plays against an invisible ghost defender. It’s amazing how deep you can get into the game while playing alone. Unleashing elaborate fantasies, loosing phantom defenders with vicious cross overs and hitting last second shots over and over again.

There are no coaches to yell at players but a lot of trash talking takes place. Players humiliate opponents with ankle-breaking moves and verbal insolence. Nothing is personal, it’s all part of the street ball culture.

At the heart and soul of our cities, street ball is made popular by leisure interests of our culturally diverse societies. Street ball’s growing popularity has attracted attention from event organisers who in turn, are turning this casual basketball phenomenon into a marketing platform. Promotion of products and services through street ball is now a popular trend involving sound equipment, DJs and MCs.

Traditional ballers will always find solace on their local playgrounds with or without the hype the marketing aspect has brought to the game. True ballers are driven by passion. “Once in a while we do BBQ and blast music while playing against invited players from other neighbourhoods”, Says Biggie from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. “Every new year’s eve, we put hoops in the middle of Sokoine Drive (with authorisation from the City Council) and play hoops all night long. We also stage 3 point shootouts and slam dunk contests. We celebrate every new year playing ball under bright flood lights”. He adds.

Most people spend their leisure time on the sofa flipping through TV channels. Street ball players have chosen a more satisfying pursuit which refreshes them more than kicking back and relaxing. Physical hobbies can bring you joy, increase your attention for detail, keep your mind sharp, expand your creativity and help you meet people and make friends. Sports hobbies bring additional money can’t buy benefits. Exercising boosts your testosterone level, keeps you healthy, starves off depression and soothes your stress. Sounds like a good doze of what each of us needs.

From New York to Luanda, Sydney to Rio de Janeiro, street ball breaks cultural barriers and unites people from different backgrounds. While visiting China, Scott (an American engineer) entered the Beijing University of International Business and Economics through the western gate, walked for about 150 meters and turned left, he saw 10 full courts, six towering flood lights’ concrete poles and 200 people playing basketball. He joined them and made new friends. He doesn’t speak Chinese but street ball is a Lingua Franca connecting ballers from all over the world.
Posted on November 29, 2016
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COMMUNITY

AZIZI LIFE EXPERIENCES

azizi-life-experiences

If you wish to experience life in rural Rwanda in a practical way, Azizi Life Experiences offers exactly what you need. Azizi Life Experiences is a unique social enterprise that gives visitors an opportunity to connect and gain insight into day to day lives of rural Rwandans. Through their involvement in a wide range of cultural practices and economic activities of the local communities, tourists get to learn important aspects of the rich Rwandan cultural heritage.

experiences_2_web

Azizi Life is currently offering a distinctive 6 days package. However, a visitor is free to request for a plan tailored to suit his/her specific interests and time. Through Azizi Life Experiences, travelers participate in weaving, construction, brewing, cooking, dancing and exploration of magnificent landscapes. Visitors are involved in household chores like cleaning and fetching water from the valley. They also milk cows, gather grass for livestock and engage in other agricultural tasks. They share meals and stories with members of their host families.

For a long time, rural women in Rwanda have been engaged in subsistence farming. Land is scarce in this densely populated country and the rapid increase in population presents further challenges in land management. African women, especially those residing in rural areas have had limited opportunities. Lack of skills, capital and entrepreneurial mindset are common challenges hindering improvement of the livelihoods of rural women across the continent. Through tourism, Azizi Life supports weavers in an effort to boost their income. Women across the country are weaving their way out of poverty. Their baskets are neatly woven and command a good market both in Rwanda and abroad. Visitors who opt to spend a day with artisans, are taught how to harvest materials, prepare natural fibers and create their own souvenirs.

In the traditional construction department, participants fetch water and gather soil. With help from experienced builders they produce mud bricks and lay foundations of houses. Then they proceed to raise walls. Finally, construction workers collect banana leaves out of which strong ropes are made. The ropes are used to lash wood together and produce roofing materials.

Traditionally, banana wine is served during weddings and other important celebrations. In this expedition, you can participate in the process of converting a fruit into a drink. The work begins with collection of bananas and leaves. Then a hole is dug and bananas are buried and left in the hole for four days. Visitors do not have to wait for four days to complete the procedure. There are always previously buried bananas ready for extraction. Ripe bananas are dug out of the ground, peeled, mashed and strained. With Azizi Life Experiences, you can make your own drink.

A cooking day is kicked off by a visit to the field to harvest fresh ingredients for the meal. Food preparation involves washing, peeling, pounding and grinding food components using traditional methods and tools. A visitor does the work under a watchful eye of his instructor. Good food and wine is complimented by music. Entertainment begins with a mini performance from a troupe of traditional dancers before visitors have their own fair share of dancing in traditional outfits.

azizi-life-experiences-1

“As a seasoned traveler, I am always looking for ways to experience local cultures but this was truly the first time I was able to do so in a hands-on way”. Says Ashley, a visitor from the USA. The entire day is led by hosts and facilitated by an equally friendly translator. “It is heartwarming to know that my presence helped to empower these amazing women who in turn, inspired me to live a more fulfilling life. Through working with artisans, I was able to connect to them and come away with a greater appreciation for the simple things in life. I recommend Azizi Life Experiences to any person travelling to Rwanda for an unmatched, memorable, life-changing experience”. He added.

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