Through tourism, Azizi Life Experiences helps artisans to boost their income and transform their lives. Azizi Life is a social enterprise offering visitors a unique opportunity to connect and gain insight into the day-to-day life of a rural Rwandan.
Through Azizi Life Experiences, tourists who opt to spend a day with artisans are taught how to harvest materials, prepare natural fibers and create their own souvenirs.
In the construction department, participants fetch water and gather soil. With help from experienced builders, they lay bricks and build foundations. Then they proceed to raise the walls. Finally, construction workers collect banana leaves out of which strong ropes are made. The ropes are used to lash wood and produce roofing material.
Traditionally, banana wine is served during weddings and other functions. This package gives visitors an opportunity to participate in the process of converting a fruit into a drink.
Participants collect bananas and leaves. Then they dig a hole and bury the bananas. The buried fruits stay in the hole for four days. Guests do not have to wait for four days to complete the procedure. There are always previously buried bananas ready for extraction. At this stage, they they dig out ripe bananas peel, mash and strain them.
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 components using traditional methods and tools. A visitor does the work under a watchful eye of the local instructor.
Good food and fine wine are complemented by music. Entertainment begins with a mini performance from a troupe of traditional dancers. Then visitors enjoy their own share of dancing in traditional outfits.
Traditional genres vary from area to area but Intore dance is popular throughout the country. Male Intore dancers usually don wigs while holding spears and shields. Umushanana, a popular traditional attire is common among female dancers. Skirts, light tops and a variety of accessories, including ankle-bands and head wraps, are also widely used.
Women perform the ballet while men play the drum and emulate old heroes’ tricks. Singing, clapping and a wide range of spectacular moves are performed during the highly chereographed shows. The coordinated steps and gravity-defying vertical leaps will undoubtedly unleash the dancer in you.
"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 from the USA. "The entire day is led by charming hosts and facilitated by an equally friendly translator. It is heartwarming to know that my presence helped to empower these amazing people, who in turn, inspired me to live a more fulfilling life. Through working with artisans, I learned to appreciate simple things in life. I recommend Azizi Life Experiences to any person traveling to Rwanda for an unmatched, memorable and life-changing experience." He added.
Julia from the UK is grateful for an opportunity to experience what she had always been looking for in a holiday. In rural Rwanda, she found friendly people who introduced her to a different way of life and answered all those questions she had always wanted to ask.
"I have been to twenty-five countries and this is the most I have ever learned about a different culture in one day." Said Mark from the USA. Mark recommends Azizi Life Experiences for those who want to experience the daily life of a rural Rwandan. Akeem, also from the USA, was amazed by how much rural women do with very little. Like many other Azizi visitors, he was inspired.
This experience is also useful to Rwandans who have never lived in rural areas and those who have been detached from their rural roots for a while. It is a unique opportunity for them to reconnect and acquire valuable skills.