Rwanda is known as the “Land of a Thousand Hills,” and on forty-two acres of one of those hills is a refuge of hope and peace—the Rafiki Training Village Rwanda. Established in 2009, the Village is about thirty miles south of the capital city of Kigali near Nyamata in the Bugesera District. So far, eleven buildings have been built to house the educational and residential facilities of this growing Village. The local language is Kinyarwanda and the local food staples are maize meal (posho), rice, and amaranth (dodo). It is interesting that though much of the world grinds the seeds of amaranth into flour for use in breads, noodles, and cereals, Rwandans only eat the leaves of the plant.
The children of the Rafiki Village Rwanda enjoy playing together. Lately they have been pretending to cook freshly picked wildflowers. Trust and Obey and How Firm a Foundation are much-loved hymns by both the staff and children. Though Rwanda’s recent past has been marred by tribal conflict, the people are committed to peace building and this has been translated into a unique spirit of cooperation, patience, and tolerance that transcends all tribal allegiances and is evident within the Village and surrounding community.
Rwanda, just south of the Equator in central Africa, is a mountainous land bridging the forest ecosystems of the Congo basin with the Great Rift Valley of the east. Rwanda offers a concentration of biodiversity found nowhere else in Africa and is home to rare mountain gorillas.
This tiny, landlocked country—the continent’s most densely populated—gained independence from Belgium in 1962. Conflict and civil war between ethnic Hutus and Tutsis have marked the country’s history since colonial times. In 1994, the genocide of some 800,000 Tutsis by Hutus occurred before Tutsi forces could gain control of Rwanda. Hutu militias fled Rwanda and continued to attack Tutsis from Zaire until Rwandan forces invaded Zaire in 1997—where they remained until 2002, when the Democratic Republic of the Congo (formerly Zaire) agreed to help disarm Hutu gunmen. In 2003, Rwanda's first election in a decade installed Paul Kagame as President. The current president is Paul Kagame.
Area: 10,169 square miles
Language: Kinyarwanda, French, English, Kiswahili
Religion: Christian 93.4%, Muslim 1.8%, animist 0.1%,
other 0.6%, none 3.6%, unspecified 0.5%
Currency: Rwandan franc
Life Expectancy: 59
GNI per Capita: $630
Percentage of Population Living on Less than $1.25/day: 63%
Literacy Percent: 71.1%
Orphaned Children: 860,000
Physicians per 100, 000 people: 6
CIA—The World Factbook
National Geographic Atlas of the World
WHO Human Resources for Health
UNICEF—State of the World’s Children, 2010
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