If you wish to experience life in rural Rwanda in a practical way, Azizi Life Experiences offers exactly what you need. This is a unique social enterprise that gives visitors an opportunity to connect and gain insight into day to day lives of rural Rwandans. Through involvement in a wide range of cultural practices and economic activities of the local communities, visitors 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 ask for a plan that fits his specific interests and time. Through Azizi Life Experiences, tourists participate in weaving, construction, brewing, cooking, dancing and exploration of magnificent landscapes. They 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 while sharing 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 for generations. Lack of skills, capital and entrepreneurial mindset are hindering improvement in the standard of living among rural women in different parts of the continent. Through tourism, Azizi Life Experiences 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 functions. 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 the local instructor. Good food and wine are complimented 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.
"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.
Julia from the UK is grateful to Azizi Life for giving her an opportunity to experience what she had always been looking for in a holiday. In rural Rwanda, she found friendly people who shared their daily lives with her and answered all those questions she had been dying to ask. This experience is also useful to Rwandans especially those who have never lived in rural areas. A considerable number of young Rwandans were born and raised in Kigali or abroad. Azizi Life offers a unique opportunity for them to connect and learn valuable skills.
"I have been to 25 countries and this is the most that I have ever learnt about a different culture in one day." Said Mark from the USA. Mark recommends Azizi Life experiences for anybody who wants to see the real life of a rurall Rwandan. Akeem, also from the USA, noted that women do so much with very little. Like many other Azizi visitors, he was inspired.
It is also encouraging to see how far societies have embraced unity and reconciliation. It is evident that ethnic segmentation is a thing of the past. Rwandans of all walks of life are working together to achieve their goals and ensure that their children inherit the Rwanda we want.