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Bungwe Master Report


Contributing Authors Tory Bowman Katie Riley Diana Wong Lauren Crudup Kyle Gustafson

Introduction The Bungwe Master Report is a compiliation of articles researched and written by the Education & Society Committee of the Engineers Without Borders-USA UC San Diego chapter. The articles presented here are intended to inform readers of the cultural, political, and atmospheric climate of Rwanda.


Table of Contents Topic

Page #

Maps and Photos (Tory) Climate (Tory) Geography (Tory) Population Growth (Tory) Languages (Katie) Religion (Katie) National and Local Government (Katie) Demographics (Tory) Local Flora and Fauna (Kyle) Societal and Family Roles (Tory) Laws & Restrictions (Lauren) Food (Diana) Local Customs (Tory) Perceptions of Americans (Katie) Water Quality (Lauren) Racial History (Diana) Sources

4 5 6 7 7 8 10 14 15 16 17 21 22 23

24 25 30

Maps & Photos of Bungwe Maps & Photos of Bungwe




Graph of temperatures in Kigali, temperatures in Bungwe should average 3-5 degrees cooler than what is shown.

Rwanda’s climate is characterized by its two annual rainy seasons and the intermediate dry seasons. The long dry season is from June to September and there are two annual rainy seasons, the first from mid-March until the beginning of June and a shorter one from mid-September to December. During both of Rwanda's dry seasons, there is often light cloud cover. This helps to moderate the temperatures, but also occasionally brings light rain showers. Since Bungwe is in the mountains the weather patterns are slightly more chaotic, thus the likelihood of light showers even in the dry season should be taken into account. Over the entire country Rwanda gets 40 inches of annual rainfall on average.

Average daytime temperatures throughout Rwanda vary upon the region but since Bungwe is in the northern mountains and at moderate altitude the average daytime temperatures should hover around 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Nighttime temperatures should average in the 60s. The monthly average temperatures do not change significantly throughout the year in Rwanda since it is very close to the equator and has a moderate climate. However, similarly to the rest of Africa, Rwanda’s weather is becoming more and more difficult to predict, which may be attributed to global warming. Thus, Rwanda’s average temperatures and rainfall has steadily become more inconsistent over the past decade.


Geography Rwanda is a landlocked country located in the center of Africa and is also known as “the land of a thousand hills.� It is a distant 880 miles from the Indian Ocean but only 75 miles south of the equator. Rwanda is bordered by Uganda to the north, Tanzania to the east, Burundi to the south, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to the west. The country is irregularly shaped with an area of 10,169 square miles, only slightly larger than the U.S. state of Maryland. Although there are 23 lakes in Rwanda, including the massive Lake Kivu at 1,042, most of the country’s water comes from its many rivers and streams which eventually form the source of the Nile and the Congo. The two main rivers are the Kagera and Razizi, the Kagera originates from Burundi and flows to Lake Victoria while the Razizi flows into Lake Tangayinka forming a delta. There is also a hydroelectric dam on the Razizi which generates 148 GWH annually. Rwanda is located on the divide between the Congo and Nile drainage systems; watershed on the eastern side of the country eventually makes it into the Nile while watershed on the western part eventually joins the Congo.

The northern part of Rwanda is dominated by relatively low mountains rising from the eastern plains to the western mountain ranges. The highest point in Rwanda is the dormant volcano Mount

Karisimbi on the western border at 14,787ft. Bungwe is located in these lower mountains at an altitude of around 6,000ft. By road, it is only 13 miles from the large town of Byumba and about 45 miles from the capital Kigali. The geography surrounding Bungwe consists of rolling hills with deep valleys cut by various streams and small rivers.


Population Growth

Languages Rwanda has three official languages: Kinyarwanda, French, and English. Kinyarwanda is the national language of Rwanda, spoken natively by almost everyone, regardless of ethnic group. It is also spoken in parts of Uganda. Small children are taught in Kinyarwanda. (An example of what it sounds like: v=1YJo1de9Xb4 .)

French has long been an official language of Rwanda, but the country is moving away from it in favor of English. Rwanda is a former Belgian colony, so French was brought to the country by colonists. However, Rwanda’s relations with France, Belgium, and Europe in general, have deteriorated since the genocide in 1994. France helped the Hutu army during the genocide by providing arms, which facilitated mass murders. Rejecting French in favor of English is in part a way for 7

Rwanda to declare that it no longer has any interest in diplomatic relations with France. Since French was traditionally the language of education and business in Rwanda, most adults who grew up and went to school in Rwanda probably speak at least some French. In 2008, Rwanda began using English as its official international language and the language of the government. In 2009, Rwanda joined the Anglophone Commonwealth of Nations, as only the second country to join that was not once part of the British Empire. There were several reasons for the switch to English. First, as stated above, Rwanda does not wish to have close ties to France, and switching to English is a way of distancing itself from France and its role in the genocide. Furthermore, Rwanda wishes to open itself to the international Anglophone economy, to encourage international businesses and tourists to come to Rwanda. Also, several countries around Rwanda, such as Uganda, use English as their official

second language, so when Tutsi refugees returned to Rwanda after the genocide, many of them had begun to learn English as their second language. Lastly, Christian churches are very influential in Rwanda, and they tend to be associated with churches in England, the United States, and other English-speaking countries. However, the transition to English is rocky. While English is now officially the language of education, with French as a second foreign language, there are not enough English teachers to provide all schoolchildren with a solid English education. In the capital of Kigali, English may prove more useful in French, but this may not be true in rural areas. Some Rwandans also speak Swahili, since it is spoken in neighboring countries. Rwanda borders both Francophone and Anglophone countries. There are no ethnic divides for languages.

Religion Over 90% of Rwandans identify as Christian. According to the CIA World Fact Book, in 2001, Rwanda was 56.5% Roman

Catholic, 26% Protestant, 11.1% Adventist, and 4.6% Muslim, with 0.1% practicing indigenous beliefs, and 1.7% not identifying 8

with any religion. There are no ethnic lines as far as who practices which religion. The Catholic Church was the first outside religion brought to Rwanda by German and Belgian colonists, and it remains very powerful today. The Church runs many schools, hospitals, and health centers in Rwanda, and so has a great deal of influence on local communities. The Rwandan Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. There are fines and imprisonment for anyone who interferes with another’s practice of religion. While this freedom of religion is respected by the federal government, local governments can be hostile toward members of smaller religious groups. Members of the Pentecostal Church, Seventh-Day Adventists, and Jehovah’s Witnesses have all been harassed and arrested by local governments. There have also been reports of intimidation of religious leaders in order to pressure them into voting for the new constitution and to tell their congregations to do the same. The constitution forbids political groups from associating with a religion. However, religious instruction is allowed in schools, since many schools in Rwanda were founded by missionaries. In fact, many missionaries and religiously affiliated NGOs operate in the country, and this aid is welcomed by the government. The Catholic Church had a complicated role in the genocide of 1994. While the Church held a tremendous

amount of political and cultural influence, it did little to denounce ethnic violence. Several powerful Catholic leaders had close ties with the extremist Hutu government and therefore benefited from maintaining the status quo. While some local Catholic leaders did call for peace and denounced growing ethnic tensions and armament, the national Church published only vague calls for peace, with no mention of specific incidents. Protestant leaders generally found themselves in a similar position. During the genocide, many Rwandans who sought refuge in church buildings were murdered there. Genocide organizers would gather Tutsis in churches under the pretense of keeping them safe there, then slaughter them once they were all confined in one place. By some estimates, more people were killed in churches than anywhere else during the genocide. While some members of the clergy fought against the genocide and tried to protect their parishioners, others assisted in the mass-murders and even killed fellow clergy members. The close ties the church had with the government distorted people’s opinions on the genocide. Many were able to reconcile their religious beliefs with committing genocide because of the ties the church had with the government. After the genocide, many clergy fled Rwanda and denied that the genocide took place. Overall, the church had tremendous influence in pre-genocide Rwanda, and it 9

did not adequately use this power to condemn escalating ethnic tensions and increasing violence. Furthermore, many religious leaders were either complicit with or actively assisted genocide leaders. However, it is important to note that some members of the church did fight back against the genocide and try to save people. The role of the church in the genocide cast a negative light on the church in Rwanda and its role in Rwandan society. On the other hand, many found comfort in religion as they struggled to deal with the horrors they had faced during the genocide, and churches remain extremely powerful institutions in Rwanda today.

legalization of abortion. Recently, the government updated the law to allow abortion in cases of rape, forced marriage, incest, or when the pregnancy poses a serious health risk to the mother. Previously, abortion was forbidden under all circumstances. However, many women still got illegal, highly dangerous abortions. The new law aims to prevent these dangerous procedures, as well as reduce the number of abandoned babies. However, abortion is still a taboo subject in Rwanda, in large part due to the strong influence of the church. Many oppose the legalization of abortion even under extreme circumstances due to religious values.

A current issue that has divided people along religious lines is the limited

Government National Government Rwanda is a presidential democratic republic with a bicameral legislature. It celebrates Independence Day on July 1st. Rwanda has had its current constitution since May 26, 2003. All adults over 18 can vote. The executive branch is headed by the president, currently Paul Kagame (since March 2001), who is directly elected to a 7year term. The president appoints a Prime

Minister and a cabinet of ministers. The Prime Minister since October 2011 is Pierre Habumuremyi, who was formerly the Minister of Education. The legislative branch is divided into two chambers of parliament: the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 80 members. 53 of these members are directly elected to a five-year term by Rwandans. Twenty-four


female deputies are indirectly elected by local councils. Two are elected by the National Youth Council, and one deputy is elected by the Federation of the Associations of the Disabled. This system of guaranteeing seats to women, youth, and disabled representatives is common at all levels of Rwandan government. The Chamber of Deputies is the only national legislative chamber in the world with more women than men serving as representatives: 45 to 35! The Senate is composed of 26 members who serve eight-year terms. Twelve members are elected by provincial and sectoral councils. Eight members are appointed by the president in order to ensure the representation of historically underrepresented communities. Four are elected by the Forum of Political Organizations (a committee of Rwandan political parties), and two are elected by the staff of universities. At least eight seats must be filled by women.

government to fund development and certain services. Local governments are constitutionally responsible for rural electricity; environmental management; local economic development and tourism; city planning; local transportation; public works; building codes; social services; basic health, water, sewage, and sanitation services; and promoting community involvement in local government. They may also be responsible for a number of other services, such as education and local police. (See anda.pdf ) There are five levels of local government in Rwanda: provinces, districts, sectors, cells, and villages. These are summarized in the table on the next page.

Local Government Rwanda’s system of local government is described in Chapter 1 of its constitution and is overseen by the Ministry of Local Government, Good Governance, Community Development and Social Affairs (MINALOC). MINALOC has three directorates: territorial administration and good governance; community development and social protection; and planning, monitoring and evaluation. In general, local governments can leverage property taxes and receive grants from the central


Bungwe is located in the Northern Province, in the Gicumbi District (highlighted in blue in the map on the right) and the Byumba Sector, which consists of 8 cells and 51 villages. It is unclear which cell Bungwe is located in. Gicumbi District states that its main priorities are water and sanitation, road construction and maintenance, energy, agriculture and livestock, and ICT. Byumba is described as being the “urban center� of the Gicumbi District. The Byumba sector is the most

Level of Local Government Provinces (intara)

Number 5 (Kigali, Northern, Southern, Eastern, Western)

densely populated of the district. For clearer maps and more information on the Gicumbi District, see the Development Plan Report from their website: /FINAL_REPORT_LUDP.pdf .

Council/Committee Duties (Women must make up at least 30%) President appoints one governor per Governor serves as province intermediary between local and national governments

Districts (akarere)


One representative per sector, elected by Management of daily affairs of sector councils district Three representatives for the National Youth Council One representative for the National Council of Women

Sectors (imerenge)


Council elected by cell councils

Cells (utugari) Villages (imudungu)


Committee directly elected by residents


Five member committee consisting of village chief, member in charge of development and social affairs, member in charge of security, member in charge of youth issues, member in charge of gender issues

Executive committee of 12 council representatives handles daily administration Administration of cell Development projects Administration and development of village


President Paul Kagame’s Government While President Kagame is often praised for leading Rwanda to stability and economic growth after the genocide, he is subject to increasing international criticism for an authoritarian rule and alleged war crimes. Kagame is the leader of the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF), which is currently by far the most powerful political party in Rwanda. Opposition parties are allowed but have no chance of gaining significant power. The legitimacy and morality of the rise and dominance of Kagame and the RPF is subject to international debate. Kagame became the head of the RPF in 1990, when it was in exile in Uganda. Kagame, a Tutsi, began a war to take over Rwanda. During the genocide of 1994, Kagame and his army defeated the extremist army and overthrew the government to gain control of Rwanda. After the genocide, Pasteur Bizimungu, a Hutu, was named president of Rwanda, with Kagame as vice-president but effectively in charge. In 2000, Bizimungu resigned and Kagame took over. Since then, almost all top government posts have been held by Tutsis, although the government forbids ethnic labels. Kagame is known for going after his political enemies. Bizimungu was arrested on charges of being a radical Hutu in 2001, although he was pardoned in 2007. Theogene Rudasingwa, the former Rwandan ambassador to the U.S., who now

lives there in exile, claims that Kagame will persecute, exile, and even kill anyone who poses a threat to his power, especially Hutus. The RPF has officials in every town in Rwanda, and they often overrule local officials. They keep close tabs on citizens, compiling extensive files on some. During the 2010 election, there were no real alternatives to Kagame. The incumbent president won with 93.08% of the vote, and an RPF-lead coalition won 78.76% of the Chamber of Deputies seats. Several opposition candidates were barred from running for president, and at least one was arrested. There were also assassination attempts, and at least one journalist and one potential candidate were murdered. Some Rwandans reported being forced by local officials and police to donate to Kagame’s election fund and to vote for him. Kagame’s government is known for not allowing a free press, often justifying their policies by saying that it would jeopardize Rwanda’s fragile recovery. Journalists have been murdered when they published articles disagreeing with the government, and independent newspapers have been shut down, especially at critical political moments. In general, the case of Kagame is complicated. While he has certainly improved and expanded many things in Rwanda, such as education and infrastructure, there are also disturbing


authoritarian aspects to his regime. He has improved the Rwandan economy and established stability after the genocide of 1994, and has been able to impress international leaders in order to secure foreign aid and investments. However, more and more cases of him restricting

freedoms and exiling or assassinating opposition are being brought to light, and the recent Rwandan support of Congolese rebels is extremely controversial. I recommend reading the New York Times and Newsweek articles in the References section for more information.

Demographics Population Characteristics Population Country: 11,689,696 Age structure 0-14 years: 42.9% 15-64 years: 54.7% 65 years and over: 2.4% Median Age Total: 18.7 years Birth rate 36.14 births per 1,000 people Death rate 9.64 deaths per 1,000 people Gender ratio 0-15 years: 49% male 15-64 years: 49.5% male 65 years and over: 33.5% male Total population: 49.5% male Life expectancy at birth Total population: 58.44 years Male: 56.96 years Female: 59.96 years

Social & Economic Characteristics Urbanization Urban population: 19% Ethnic groups Hutu: 84% Tutsi: 15% Twa: 1% Religions Roman Catholic: 56.5% Protestant 26% Adventist: 11.1% Muslim: 4.6% Indigenous beliefs 0.1% None 1.7% Literacy Total population: 70.4% Male: 76.3% Female: 64.7% School life expectancy Male: 11 years Female: 11 years Medical Conditions 14

Total fertility rate 4.81 children born per woman

0.024 physicians per 1,000 people 1.6 beds per 1,000 people Labor Force Agriculture: 90% Industry and services: 10% Economic Status 44.9% of pop. below poverty line

Local Flora Rwanda The most common type of tree in Rwanda is the Acacia tree. Acacia trees cover several types of land throughout Rwanda, including woodlands, bushlands, and some grasslands, and exhibit crucial roles in several types of ecosystems. The trees themselves range in size from small bushes to more typical tree-like dimensions. Recent studies have expressed concern for the lack of preservation of acacia species on behalf of Central and Eastern African countries, as most wildlife conservation areas are devoted predominantly to fauna. Part of the preservation issue has to do with the fact that acacia trees cover are scattered across a wide variety of land types and ecosystems; it is difficult to protect species that are not clustered. Judging by their ability to survive in almost

any environment, these trees are unlikely to be good indicators of groundwater sources. According to some sources, nonnative eucalyptus trees comprise roughly sixty percent of all plantations in Rwanda and have been a significant part of its socioeconomic structure since their introduction in the early twentieth century. In the past decade or two, eucalyptus trees in the area have been critizized for their negative environmental impacts: they require a lot of water and out-compete indigenous deeproot species. In 2006, officials at the Ministry of Lands, Environment and Forestry in Kigali proposed both the uprooting of and the


Acacia Tree prevention of planting eucalyptus trees in certain regions of land particularly prone to water shortages. Eucalyptus trees are by far the most abundant deep-root plant in Rwanda. Rwanda is also home to thousands of shallow root grasses, flowers and ferns.. Specifically, African Oil-Palms are native to the Bungwe region. These large plants are sometimes harvested for their oil and are likely to be common throughout northwestern Rwanda. Finally, the most dangerous common plant in the area is the Dieffenbachia. This is a plant genus of

debatable toxicity - some experts consider it lethal, while the majority consider it a lowrisk irritant. The plants contain “raphides,” or calcium oxalate crystals, which cause mild swelling of the mouth and throat if ingested or swallowed. In rare cases (primarily those involving children or animals), this swelling constricts the individual’s airflow to the point of suffocation. Antihistamines are typically sufficient for treating the swelling and irritation of the affected area. Dieffenbachia should be considered a low-risk plant in terms of toxicity, irritation, and lethality - it is not something to be concerned about so long as individuals know not to chew on its leaves.

Oil Palms

Societal & Family Roles Since the economy is 90% agriculture, women and children’s roles on

the farm have always been an important measure of their overall social standing. In 16

modern Rwanda agricultural work is divided between women and men. Men clear the land and assist women in breaking the soil, while women engage in most of the day-today farming activities such as planting, weeding, and harvesting. Men are primarily responsible for overseeing the livestock, although kids commonly act as shepherds and generally help out. Men are also responsible for heavy jobs around the house, particularly construction while women are responsible for maintaining the household, raising children, and preparing food. It is important to note that although agriculture work is divided relatively evenly, nonfarm employment is dominated by men. Rural families typically live together across multiple generations, with the actual house consisting of a plot of land with several buildings on it. Marriage is considered a basic social institution and there is often heavy pressure on women to marry and have children. Unlike traditional marriages, couples today select their own mates although approval from the family is often expected. The mother has the primary responsibility for child rearing and informal education, her eldest brother usually also plays a part in the moral development and socialization of the children. Homeschooling is rare and any formal education is the local government’s responsibility. Interestingly, social status in contemporary Rwanda is often reflected in the knowledge of French or English.

Knowing either of these two languages demonstrates a higher degree of education and the likely possession of consumer goods such as a vehicle or television. Some examples of more traditional social practices are still apparent, for example, within the family chairs are often reserved for men while other family members sit on mats on the floor. Men eat first, with women and children eating after. Visitors are given the best chairs and the first choice of food and drink. With the above points in mind Rwanda still has some of the most progressive practices of any African country in regards to the common societal and family rolls of its citizens. This difference is largely due to effects of the 1994 genocide during which large numbers of men were killed in the conflict or away from their homes for long periods of time. Before the conflict men were the sole holders of property and wealth, this started to quickly change after the genocide as women took more and more control of their households and communities. After the genocide women represented nearly 60% of the adult working population which led to many women becoming the sole providers for their families. Thus, in modern Rwanda, women play a significant role in its politics and economy. Furthermore, women, youth, and minority groups are even guaranteed seats in the national and local governments.


Laws and Restrictions The Rwandan Constitution: A Summary The Rwandan Constitution is similar to our own. It begins with a Preamble that acknowledges the genocide and vows to eradicate ethnic divisions. It simultaneously emphasizes unity, ethnic and gender equality, and democracy. Title One establishes the government as one “of the people, by the people and for the people.” It establishes Kinyarwanda, French, and English as the official languages and ensures universal suffrage. Title Two delineates the fundamental human rights guaranteed each Rwandan citizen and foreign visitor. This section was heavily influenced by the massacres. There are specific provisions that state that genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes have no statute of limitations and that “revisionism, negationism, and trivialism of the genocide are punishable by law.” The right to be considered innocent until proven guilty, freedom from torture, the right to a trial and the right to appear in front of a judge are also guaranteed. The government grants Rwandan citizens many freedoms, but their position as a religious society that wishes to maintain a stable order in the wake of a tragedy is apparent. Marriage is explicitly

defined as a monogamous union between a man and a woman, and freedom of press, speech, and information are allowed so long as they do not “prejudice good morals.” Political parties must adhere to these provisions as well. This title bans political factions based on any factor that may lead to discrimination, such as race, ethnicity, gender, or the like. The Senate may file a complaint against any political party that has “grossly violated” these laws. The High Court then hears the case, and the Supreme Court hears the case in the event of an appeal. Depending on the degree of severity, the party is either given a formal warning, a notice of suspension of their activities for a year to the length of a Parliamentary term, or dissolution. In the case of dissolution, any member of the Chamber of Deputies that is associated with that political party will be removed. Judges, prosecutors, members of the Rwandan Defence Force, members of the Rwanda National Police and members of the National Intelligence and Security Service may not be affiliated with any political party. Title Four establishes the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. The legislative branch is divided into the Senate and the Chamber of 18

Deputies. Each chamber is responsible for making laws that explicitly dictate what is gross misconduct, how each committee works, how committees are to be established, and how voting shall be conducted. These provisions are to be called the Organic Law. The Chamber of Deputies consists of 53 deputies, 24 of whom are women, 2 are elected by the National Youth Council, and one is elected by the National Council of Persons with Disabilities. It is not clear from the constitution if these numbers are minimums or absolutes. Each member is elected for a five-year term. Members are elected by “direct universal suffrage through a secret ballot.” Any remaining seats are distributed among the political parties according to size. A member is removed from the chamber by resignation from the chamber or her respective political party, expulsion from the chamber or from her respective political party, joining another political organization or death. The cabinet of the executive branch submits the budget every year to the Chamber for approval. The Senate then gives its opinion. If the budget is not passed before the start of the fiscal year, the Prime Minister receives funds on a monthly basis that are equal to one-twelfth of the budget of the previous year. There are 26 Senators. Two of which are at least Associate Professors elected by the academic and research staff of one public and one private institution. All Senators must have “impeccable character” and must be highly skilled in one or more of

the fields of science, law, economics, sociology, culture or have held senior positions in the public or private sector. The President must have irreproachable morals, and must not have been convicted and sentenced to a term of imprisonment of six months or more and may not have been “deprived of his/her civil political rights.” The President serves for 7 years with a two-term maximum. The President is the Commander-in-Chief of the Rwanda Defense Forces and may declare war and sign and ratify treaties. The President may sign orders regarding mercy, national currency, decorations of honor, and the promotion of officers and various political officials which may be approved by the Cabinet and countersigned by the Prime Minister. The Cabinet is composed of the Prime Minister, Ministers, Ministers of State, and other members who may be determined by the President. The Prime Minister shall be nominated, appointed, and removed from office by the President. All other members may be removed by the President upon proposal by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister signs appointments, formulates government programs, and chairs Cabinet meetings in the absence of the President. If the Prime Minister leaves office, so does the rest of the cabinet. The President and Vice President of the Supreme Court serve for eight years maximum. The Presidents and Vice Presidents of the High Court and Commercial High Court serve for 5 years


with a maximum of two terms. While the President and Vice President are cycled, the 12 untitled judges are “career judges.” Supreme Court decisions are binding for all parties concerned. It is unclear whether or not precedents are set when the Supreme Court makes a decision, as is the case in the United States. The Supreme Court hears cases involving two states, treaties, appeals against decisions of the High Court, and declares the office of President vacant when necessary. The High Court hears cases from some types of felonies, cases involving political organizations, and appeals from lower courts. The Intermediate and Primary Courts have jurisdiction over cases determined by law. Specialized Courts, such

as Gacaca Courts, are responsible for trying persons accused of the 1990-94 genocide. The National Commission to Fight against Genocide is responsible for the commemoration and prevention of genocide. The Gender Monitoring Office is established by the constitution, but its responsibilities are not stated. No law may supersede the Constitution. Freedom of Speech vs. The Protection of Citizens As shown in the above summary, there are extensive measures within the Rwandan government to prevent the atrocities that once permeated their society from recurring. Early in the Constitution, it is explicitly stated that speech is permitted to some extent:

“Propagation of ethnic, regional, racial or discrimination or any other form of division shall be punishable by Law...Freedom of speech and freedom of information shall not prejudice public order and good morals, the right of every citizen to honour, good reputation and the privacy of personal and family life. It is also guaranteed so long as it does not prejudice the protection of the youth and minors.”

Some organizations argue that these provisions are being used to silence dissenters to the current regime. Dissidents have appealed to the government to amend

the Constitution to allow free speech. They argue that the current laws violate Article 19 of the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that “everyone has the


right to freedom of expression,” and that people may “seek, receive and impart information...orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.” The recent sentencing of Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza to two eight years in prison for allegedly violating this provision has brought national attention to this issue. In 2010, Ingabire gave a speech at the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre which questioned why Hutu victims were forgotten. She also insisted that justice be received for the many Tutsi who were murdered as well. She was arrested and interrogated soon after. As of December

2012, she had appealed her case to the Supreme Court. The current laws may stifle the country’s ability to have an open and honest discussion about these horrific events, but many of Ingabire’s supporters allege that the Supreme Court tried to dismiss her case based on trivialities and have accused Paul Kagame of interfering in the matter. Ingabire’s supporters have published many articles regarding her case. One such article referring to the government’s violation of Article 19 ominously states that “the nation won’t be silent forever.”

Food The Rwandan diet is based on locally grown ingredients and cultural traditions. Rwandan food consists mainly of sweet potatoes, beans, corn, peas, sorghum, millets and fruit. A typical Rwandan meal consists of a starchy food such as rice, yams or flour cooked into porridge. Meat consumption varies according to each region. For instance, Rwandans who live in rural areas rarely eat meat. Some families

have cattle, but since cattle are considered a status symbol, people seldom slaughter them for meat. Many Rwandans in rural areas eat meat only once or twice a month causing some Rwandan children suffer from protein deficiency. When meat is consumed, the most common types are chicken, beef and if the place is located near the lakes, tilapia.


Breakfast A traditional breakfast consists of sweet potatoes and porridge, which is a mixture of sorghum, corn and millet, mixed with milk. Lunch & Dinner Lunch and dinner may consist of boiled beans, bananas, sweet potatoes or cassava. Umutsima (a dish of cassava and corn) Isombe (cassava leaves with Eggplant and spinach) Mizuzu (fried plantain, pictured on the right) Snacks: Avocados, bananas, mangos and papaya. Alcohol: Many Rwandan men enjoy drinking beer, but women rarely drink alcohol in any form. Although Rwanda has a large commercial brewery, many people make their own beer and alcoholic beverages using sorghum, corn or fermented plantains. Ikigage is a locally brewed alcoholic drink made from dry sorghum and urwarwa is brewed from plantains. Traditionally, people drink beer through straws from a single large container. Additional: Rwanda is such a small country that talking about regional cuisines would be a huge overstatement. However, the social and geographical aspects of the country are quite interesting to follow. Most of the

Rwandan population belongs to the Hutu ethnic group, traditionally crop-growers. The Tutsi group originated as a socioeconomic class noted for cattle ownership. There was mobility between the two groups. For 600 years the two groups shared the business of farming, essential for survival, between them. They have also shared their language, their culture, and their nationality. The general Rwandan cuisine shares many of the dishes brought by the Tutsis—shepherd like dishes that are simple and fast to prepare. The Rwandan cuisine is dominated by an acute lack of food in the country, so speaking about sumptuous meals and elaborate Rwandan dishes would not correspond to the realities found in the country. In all of Rwanda, women are the ones that take care of cooking, and they mainly stick to preparing beer, bananas and other simple foods to make dishes. Some Food Traditions and customs: Rwandans traditionally eat food in public settings only for ceremonial purposes, but otherwise eat only in the home. In recent years, the taboo on eating in public has diminished significantly, and restaurants have appeared in most urban areas. While the system of clans has diminished sharply in importance in Rwanda, most Rwandans will still not eat the totemic animals associated with their clans. Important occasions in Rwanda always involve the ceremonial consumption of alcohol and food, but full meals are never


served. People in attendance at a wedding or funeral are formally served a piece of meat and something else to eat, usually a roasted potato. A pot of sorghum beer is placed in the center of the room with numerous reed straws, and participants come forward to partake. Calabashes of banana beer are passed through the crowd. It is also customary to serve people food and drink when they visit a home. Refusing

to partake of offered food or drink is considered a grave insult. Hosts typically sip from drinks and taste the food first before passing them to the guests to show that they are safe for consumption and have not been poisoned. Visitors are often presented with food as gifts to take with them at the conclusion of their visits.

Local Customs Basic Etiquette Do not under any circumstances or at any time ask anyone if they are "Hutu" or "Tutsi" Rwandans class themselves only as Rwandans or Rwandese. Furthermore, try not to discuss France or its relationship with Rwanda, since the two countries severed ties anything French is unpopular in Rwanda. Do not give in to the barrage demands for food or money that comes from the crowd of kids following you. If you do then the next time you walk down the street, you will have half of the village with you. If you suggest going to a restaurant or bar with a Rwandan it is taken for granted that you will cover the bills and tip. It is customary to tip for service for guides, restaurants, and bars. A tip of $5 a day is

average for a guide or driver while at a restaurant a tip of 5% would be very acceptable and 10% generous. Greetings Greetings are extremely important in Rwanda. It is impolite not to return a greeting or to start a conversation without a proper greeting. Younger persons must greet older persons first, and women greet men first. When being introduced for the first time or when greeting a professional colleague, Rwandans shake right hands and may place the left hand under the right forearm as a sign of respect. Sometimes younger Rwandans “kiss the air� near each cheek while shaking hands. Common verbal greetings include Muraho (Hello, it's been a while),


Mwaramutse (Good morning), or Mwiriwe (Good afternoon/evening). The initial greeting is usually followed by Amakuru? (How's the news?) or, among close friends, Bite se? (How are things going?). The typical response is Ni meza (Fine) or Ni meza cyane (Very fine). Gestures Body language, gestures, and facial expressions convey meaning, respect, or emphasis. It is polite to avoid eye contact with a superior or elder. The distance between people when they converse indicates their relationship: friends require little or no distance, while superiors must

have more. Friends of the same sex often hold hands while walking or talking, but such public contact between members of the opposite sex is not appropriate. If giving an item to an older person then use both. Rwandans toss their head to the side with a verbal “eh” to express disbelief, usually when they are listening to a personal experience. This is similar to saying “wow” or “really” in English. Pointing with the finger or hand is impolite; instead, the head is used, with the chin and mouth jutting in the direction indicated.

Perceptions of Americans In general, Rwandans are very welcoming to foreign visitors. However, Rwandans in rural communities have probably had little contact with people from other countries, especially western countries. There are many common misconceptions of Americans; for example, that all Americans are white and rich. As a result, Americans are sometimes harassed for money, and American women might be sexually harassed (with the idea of marrying a rich American). Americans might also be asked about racism in the United States. Americans should be prepared for questions that would be considered

invasive or rude in the United States. Asking someone how much money they make is perfectly acceptable, as is asking a stranger if he or she is married, has kids, and why or why not. Staring at people is commonplace, and foreigners will be stared at especially often. White visitors are usually called “umuzungu” (singular) or “abazungu” (plural), which is Kinyarwandan for “white person.” Black Americans will often also be called “abazungu,” since they are not from Sub-Saharan Africa. Asian visitors are called “umushinwa,” which means “Chinese.”


President Obama is very well-known and popular throughout Africa, and the 2008 presidential election was widely

covered in Rwanda. American visitors might be asked if they supported Obama or not.

Water Quality Farming, sanitation practices, water-borne diseases, and water transportation affect water quality in most of Rwanda. Most farming is done on hillsides or near rivers, both of which lend themselves to the problem of increased sedimentation of Rwanda's river resources. Sedimentation problems make efficiently transporting water difficult because the particles cause harmful buildup in pipes. Since Rwandan farmers must work as long as possible in the fields to produce a profit, there is little to no crop rotation and fields are rarely left fallow to re-gain nutrients. This results in depleted soils. The land is then left bare and rains wash the earth into lakes, marshes, and rivers. Since farms are usually near water sources for convenient irrigation, manure, decaying animals, and pesticides can be an issue for water quality. Fertilizers, if used, are not always slow-release formulas that prevent all of the nitrates the soils contain from being released into the soil all at once.

Organization HIV/AI TB

If these if the wrong kinds of fertilizers are used, Nitrates may be present in the local water sources. Lead may be present near mines. The World Health Organization (WHO) stated in 2006 that 63% of Rwandans used "unimproved sanitation" methods, which were categorized as pit latrines that flushed to the street or open sewers. Another 4% of the population practiced open defecation. In 2010, WHO stated that Rwanda had improved to 45% unimproved sanitation and 3% open defecation. Despite the significant reduction, during the wet season, fecal matter may become especially prevalent in ground water samples in these areas. The water borne diseases common to Rwanda vary depending upon the source, but Hepatitis A, B, and C, Malaria, Typhoid, Diarrhea, and Helminths, or worms, were the most common. (According to WHO, UK Health Protection Agency, Index Mundi, and the Center for Disease Control.)

Hep A Hep B Hep C Malaria Typhoid Helminths

Diarrhea 25








Often, the form of storage effects water quality just as much as, if not more than, the source. Dirty jerry cans can be petri dishes for diseases, providing a warm, moist environment. In areas where sanitation lacks, fecal matter often ends up in the jerry cans, and thus, the water. Studies show that increasing the frequency with which jerry cans are cleaned significantly reduces the amount of contamination present in the water. In areas where utensils for eating and drinking are in short supply, such things






are often shared between households. Due to water scarcity during some portions of the year, these utensils are not washed as often as they should be, given they have been adopted for communal use. Such practices can contaminate water even if it has been stored properly. It is recommended that local water sources be tested for other substances, such as copper(possibly), arsenic, and ecoli, that are common to rural areas even if there is no current evidence of their presence.

Racial History Hutu It is said the Hutu arrived in central east Africa somewhere in the 1st century. Before then, the land was inhabited by the Twa who were forced to flee by the Hutu. The Tutsi invaded around the 15th century the horn of Africa. Their takeover of the Hutu was generally peaceful. The Hutu signed contracts or ubihake with the Tutsi. These contracts

pledged the Hutu and his descendants's services to the Tutsi in exchange for a loan of cattle and arable land. The Hutu have always been the majority population, ever since they displaced the Twa in the central east area of Africa. Today, the Hutu make up 85% of the population in Burundi and 84% in Rwanda. This percentage has stayed pretty constant over the years. The Hutu were under


contract or ubuhake with the Tutsi. They pledged their services, as well as those of their descendants to the Tutsi, in return they received loans of cattle and arable land. The Hutu were the gentry in the Tutsi’s feudal system. The Tutsi The Tutsi have always been the minority population. Today they account for only 15% of the population and 14% in Burundi. This percentage has not varied much over the years. They gained their dominance over the Hutu through their trading and lending of their cattle. They were able to gain the political support, loyalty and physical labor of the Hutu. The Tutsi in Burundi and Rwanda were usually the upper class and the political leaders in the area. The Tutsi believed in a hierarchical system, with the mwami (the king), being at the top of this hierarchy. Social status is very important to the Tutsi. For a long time it was considered demeaning to have to work the land. To the Tutsi, the upper class should have a certain posture, body movements and a certain way of speaking to show that they are members of the upper class. Also, people in the upper class were supposed to always walk with an air of dignity and never show emotion. They were the aristocratic minority of the area. The Tutsi and the Hutu share the common language of Kinyarwanda, as it is called in Rwanda or Kirundi, as it is called in Burundi. They also speak French which they learned from the Belgians. There is a

minority of Tutsi that speak English, which they learned from their time as refugees in Uganda. Today, both Tutsi and Hutu are predominately Christian and animist, though they have different interpretation of animism. The Tutsi believe in the God Imaana. He is a god with the ability to grant wealth and fertility. The Mwami also share this power. They also believe in the Abazima, which are the spirits of dead relatives that carry messages between the spirit world and the human world. It is believed that these spirits can bring bad luck if people are not respectful of them. So, the Tutsi try and gain insight into the spirits needs and wants through fortune tellers. The Tutsi also tell the story of Sebgugugu. God performed miracles for him so that he and his family always had enough to eat, but Sebgugugu always wanted more. Ultimately he lost everything because of his intense greed. Belgian Belgian rule created more of an ethnic divide between the Tutsi and Hutu, and they supported Tutsis political power. Due to the eugenics movement in Europe and the United States, the colonial government became concerned with the differences between Hutu and Tutsi. Scientists arrived to measure skull—and thus, they believed, brain—size. Tutsi's skulls were bigger, they were taller, and their skin was lighter. As a result of this, Europeans came to believe that Tutsis had


Caucasian ancestry, and were thus "superior" to Hutus. Each citizen was issued a racial identification card, which defined one as legally Hutu or Tutsi. The Belgians gave the majority of political control to the Tutsis. Tutsis began to believe the myth of their superior racial status, and exploited their power over the Hutu majority. Following World War II, RwandaUrundi became a UNtrust territory with Belgium as the administrative authority. Reforms instituted by the Belgians in the 1950s encouraged the growth of democratic political institutions but were resisted by the Tutsi traditionalists, who saw them as a threat to Tutsi rule. From the late 1940s, King Rudahigwa, a Tutsi with democratic vision, abolished the "ubuhake" system and redistributed cattle and land. Although the majority of pasture lands remained under Tutsi control, the Hutu began to feel more liberation from Tutsi rule. Through the reforms, the Tutsis were no longer perceived to be in total control of cattle, the long-standing measure of a person's wealth and social position. The reforms contributed to ethnic tensions. Independence Anti-colonial sentiment rose throughout central Africa, and a socialist platform of African unity and equality for all Africans was promoted. In November 1959, Tutsis tried to assassinate Kayibanda. Rumors of the death of Hutu politician Dominique

Mbonyumutwa at the hands of Tutsis, who had beaten him, set off a violent retaliation, called the wind of destruction. Hutus killed an estimated 20,000 to 100,000 Tutsi; thousands more, including the Mwami, fled to neighboring Uganda before Belgian commandos arrived to quell the violence. Tutsi leaders accused the Belgians of abetting the Hutus. A UN special commission reported racism reminiscent of "Nazism" against the Tutsi minorities, and discriminatory actions by the government and Belgian authorities. The revolution of 1959 marked a major change in political life in Rwanda. Some 150,000 Tutsis were exiled to neighbouring countries. Tutsis who remained in Rwanda were excluded from political power in a state becoming more centralized under Hutu power. Tutsi refugees also fled to the South Kivu province of the Congo, where they were known as Banyamalenge. In 1960, the Belgian government agreed to hold democratic municipal elections in Rwanda-Urundi. The Hutu majority elected Hutu representatives. Such changes ended the Tutsi monarchy, which had existed for centuries. A Belgian effort to create an independent Rwanda-Urundi with Tutsi-Hutu power sharing failed, largely due to escalating violence. At the urging of the UN, the Belgian government divided Rwanda-Urundi into two separate countries, Rwanda and Burundi. On 25 September 1961, a referendum was held to


establish whether Rwanda should become a republic or remain a kingdom. Citizens voted overwhelmingly for a republic. After parliamentary elections held on the same day, the first Rwandese Republic was declared, with Kayibanda as prime minister. Mbonyumutwa was named the first president of the transitional government. Between 1961 and 1962, Tutsi guerrilla groups staged attacks into Rwanda from neighboring countries. Rwandan Hutubased troops responded, and thousands more were killed in the clashes. On 1 July 1962, Belgium, with UN oversight, granted full independence to the two countries. Rwanda was created as a republic governed by the majority MDR-Parmehutu, which had gained full control of national politics. In 1963, a Tutsi guerrilla invasion into Rwanda from Burundi unleashed another anti-Tutsi backlash by the Hutu government; their forces killed an estimated 14,000 people. The economic union between Rwanda and Burundi was dissolved and tensions between the two countries worsened. Rwanda became a Hutu-dominated oneparty state. In excess of 70,000 people had been killed. Kayibanda became Rwanda's first elected president, leading a government chosen from the membership of the directly elected unicameral National Assembly. Peaceful negotiation of international problems, social and economic elevation of the masses, and integrated development of Rwanda were the ideals of the Kayibanda

regime. He established formal relations with 43 countries, including the United States, in the first ten years. Despite the progress made, inefficiency and corruption developed in government ministries in the mid-1960s. The Kayibanda administration established quotas to try to increase the number of Hutu in schools and the civil service. This effort ended up penalizing the Tutsi. They were allowed only nine percent of secondary school and university seats, which was their proportion of the population. The quotas also extended to the civil service. With unemployment high, competition for such opportunities increased ethnic tensions. The Kayibanda government also continued the Belgian colonial government's policy of requiring ethnic identity cards, and it discouraged "mixed" marriages. On April 6, 1994, the airplane carrying JuvĂŠnal Habyarimana, the President of Rwanda, and Cyprien Ntaryamira, the Hutu President of Burundi, was shot down as it prepared to land at Kigali.[19] Both presidents were killed when the plane crashed. Military and militia groups began rounding up and killing Tutsis en masse, as well as political moderates irrespective of their ethnic backgrounds. The killing swiftly spread from Kigali to all corners of the country; between April 6 and the beginning of July, a genocide of unprecedented swiftness left between 500,000 and 29

1,000,000 Tutsis (800,000 is a commonly noted number) and moderate Hutus dead at the hands of organized bands of militia (Interahamwe) or organized rebels (Inkotanyi). Even ordinary citizens were called on by local officials to kill their neighbors. The president's MRND Party was implicated in organizing many aspects of the genocide. The Hutu genocidaires were abetted by the Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines broadcasting hate speech advocating violence against Tutsis. It

broadcast at the same time as Radio Muhabura broadcast from Uganda, sponsored by the RPF and their Ugandan allies. Between July and August 1994, Kagame's Tutsi-led RPF troops first entered Kigali and soon thereafter captured the rest of the country.] The Tutsi rebels defeated the Hutu regime and ended the genocide, but approximately two million Hutu refugees.

Sources Maps and Photos ● ● ●


Climate ● ● ●

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Religion building-in-central-africa/the-struggle-for-peace-in-rwanda/ Government Gicumbi District: Forum of Political Organizations: New York Times Profile of President Paul Kagame: Newsweek article on Kagame: NYT articles on Kagame: ● ref=paulkagame&_r=0

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● hl=en&safe=off&sa=X&tbo=d&biw=950&bih=934&tbm=isch&tbnid=hjC0ZJenlRIMM:&imgrefurl= %3Farticle101&docid=tiL9Dp1WLcn6sM&imgurl= dur=1739&hovh=189&hovw=267&tx=126&ty=91&sig=104225456869267538337&page=1&tbn h=138&tbnw=195&start=0&ndsp=26&ved=1t:429,r:0,s:0,i:85 Demographics ● ● Societal & Family Roles ● ● um=1&hl=en&safe=off&sa=N&tbo=d&biw=830&bih=900&tbm=isch&tbnid=QqqIgJoKopXztM:& imgrefurl= 6&sig=101037126910439023556&page=1&tbnh=137&tbnw=191&start=0&ndsp=22&ved=1t:4 29,r:1,s:0,i:88 ●

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Laws and Restrictions a=v&pid=gmail&attid=0.1&thid=13c78edc0849c3cf&mt=application/pdf&url= %26attid%3D0.1%26disp%3Dsafe%26zw&sig=AHIEtbRGj5TNj9RXOX0ezoh3JY4WkBKgvQ

Food ● ● Local Customs ● ● ● %20CUSTOMS.pdf Perceptions of Americans ● ● ● ● ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Blogs: ● Tips for women traveling in Rwanda:


Water Quality

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