Rwanda is a country in Central and East Africa and one of the smallest countries on the African mainland. Located a few degrees south of the Equator, Rwanda is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Congo. Rwanda is in the African Great Lakes region and is highly elevated. Nicknamed “Land of a Thousand Hills,” its geography is dominated by mountains in the west and savanna to the east, with numerous lakes throughout the country.
Music and dance are an integral part of Rwandan ceremonies, festivals, social gatherings and storytelling. The most famous traditional dance is a highly choreographed routine consisting of three components: the umushagiriro, or cow dance, performed by women; the intore, or dance of heroes, performed by men; and the drumming, also traditionally performed by men, on drums known as ingoma.
The past summer, I participated in the DukeEngage Rwanda program and worked at the Rwamagana Lutheran School, where I had the pleasure to see students perform the traditional dance at their annual talent show and learn more about the Rwandan language and culture. It is a beautiful country with many places to see. For instance, we went on a safari trip at Akagera National Park and spent some time in Gisenyi, a town on the north shore of Lake Kivu. It was an unforgettable summer, and I have tried many new things and met some amazing people during my time in Rwanda.
Fun fact: The last Saturday of each month is umuganda, a national morning of mandatory community service lasting from 8 am to 11 am, during which all able-bodied people between 18 and 65 are expected to carry out community tasks such as cleaning streets or building homes for vulnerable people.
Rwanda traditional dance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C578cgc70jU