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Filling the shelves one book at a time

Filling the shelves one book at a time

Before I wrapped up my late December adventure ride around the Northern Province, I passed by downtown Musanze to check out the Volcanoes Forest Camp and deliver a donation to Agati Library. The donation in question is a book titled Memories. It highlights my own Temberu Rwanda experiences chronicled between 2017 and 2020.

While visiting different parts of Remarkable Rwanda, I am creating memories I will cherish for the rest of my life. Good things are meant to be shared and this recollection is no exception.

This donation was received by the founder of Agati Library, Rigobert Uwiduhaye. Rigobert is a conservation artist. He creates awareness on conservation through art. Preaching the gospel of conservation through art is a unique approach proven to be very effective.

Rigobert is also passionate about the promotion of literacy. Driven by this passion, he left no stone unturned in a bid to give his community a library. When the idea to set up this library was conceived, the young artist spent all his savings on rent. Then he rolled up his sleeves and made his own bookshelves and furniture. Since he didn’t have any woodcraft skills, he turned to YouTube for instructions. At the end of the day, he covered the walls with empty shelves.

His friends extended a helping hand. They came up with donations from the heart — raising about USD 50. Loaded with 50 bucks, Rigobert borrowed a truck and drove to Kigali to buy children’s books. He was hoping to fill the truck with a ton of books but he returned with a very small parcel, despite a generous offer from Bakame Editions.

Ever since, Rigobert has been filling the shelves one book at a time and the project is impacting his community positively. "Since the launch of this library, I have read many books." Says Umuhoza Phebe, a 10-year-old resident of Muhoza Sector, Musanze District. Umuhoza and her friends have become avid readers, thanks to Rigobert and his team.

In addition, Phebe and other children participate in an interactive radio show designed to give them an opportunity to read books on air and receive feedback from listeners. It is an innovative approach that helps to cultivate the culture of reading while developing comprehension and critical thinking at a tender age.

While visiting Agati Library, I saw unpacked boxes of new donations. From humble beginnings, the library is making strides. Its future looks promising. In the meantime, Rigobert is still encouraging mankind to take care of the environment through art. 50% of the proceeds goes to the library.

After delivering the donation, courtesy of Exposure Digital, I sat down with Rigobert and talked about the artwork he had just finalized. I will write something about the thought-provoking painting tomorrow. Stay tuned.

The author is an adventurer on a tour of all 30 districts and 416 sectors of Rwanda. Follow his awe-inspiring journey on Twitter @GeoExposure.

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