A Day In The Life Of Cynthia
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital, is a beautiful city. When a visitor first arrives there, they would be completely unaware they were in a third world country.
It consists of a huge, colourful conference centre; which hosts presidents and royalty from around the world. It is full of 4 and 5 star hotels, delicious restaurants, cinemas, shopping centres, bars, clubs and many markets. The roads in Kigali have many street lights, with traffic lights which even count down the seconds you need to wait until they turn green. It could quite easily be an attractive holiday destination, for those looking to enjoy the grander things in life and it would be possible to be unaware of the poverty stricken communities than live beyond the city’s borders.
An hour’s drive from the capital is the small village of Gako, which is situated in the Bugesera District in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. The land is very green, but the soil is dry, red sand. It is a huge challenge to grow crops in, especially during drought, and very difficult to make a living from.The tarmac roads change to red dirt as you approach the village, the streets are filled with small children in rags playing in the dirt, the parents sitting outside their homes; preparing food, cleaning, trying to avoid the hot rays of the sun.
In the city, water flows when you turn the tap, a luxury we all take for granted. In the villages, there is a community well which, if they are lucky, will be on once every one to two weeks for villagers to go and fill their jerry cans, then walk several kilometres back to their homes. This water is used to cook, drink and wash. If it runs out and the well is off, as it often is, they are then forced to walk even further to the closest lake. At least 5 km from the school, in scorching heat, carrying litres of water on their head, which they must do to stay alive. But this water isn’t safe; the lake has many dangers; crocodiles and hippos are in abundance, herds of sheep, goats and cows are taken there to drink the water. The contamination in the polluted water resulting in a high risk of cholera and typhoid. Dry season is from mid-December to mid-February and May to August but, due to the hills, even in wet season, the Gako village can go weeks without rain.
Faith and Hope Academy
Faith and Hope Academy has classes ranging from nursery 1 (3 years) to p6 (up to 14 years) and has a total of 501 pupils. In each class there is an average of 60 pupils, with only one teacher! The teachers at Faith and Hope are lucky if they are paid £1 a day, due to the lack of funding. The funds they do have go towards ensuring the children have all the school supplies they need.
The head teacher of Faith and Hope is Felix Buzimisiki. Felix is 45 years old and was living in Rwanda during the 1994 Genocide, where he hid in a cave with his Mother and his current wife Ester for 100 days; as a consequence of not having any daylight he is now partially blind. Throughout the genocide, Felix lost all of his aunts and uncles, his older brothers and his grandmother.
Felix has a heart of gold, and his vision in life is to help others. As school headteacher, Felix is the rock of his community, but is also the pastor of the community church. Felix gets paid only £1 a day and, although he struggles to feed his own family once a day, due to his kind nature, he has also adopted two other children.
The children in this community know that it is a privilege to be educated. They want to learn. They are enthusiastic and grateful for the teaching they do receive. Pupils as young as three years old walk to school and show up every morning enthusiastic and really keen to learn. It is such a lifeline to be able to offer villagers a job, to break their poverty-stricken cycle.
Through sponsoring a child through Together in Sport Rwanda you are being a part of changing these children’s lives.
A Day in the Life of Cynthia
Cynthia is 7 years old and lives approximately 2km away from Faith and Hope. She lives in a small mud hut house with both her parents, and her younger brother who has special needs.
Cynthia sleeps on a small mattress with her younger brother. Due to her family being worried about thief’s stealing their family goat, the goat is tied to Cynthia’s bed every night resulting in Cynthia and her brother sleeping amongst an extremely unpleasant smell attracting lots of flies.
As you have read above Gako receives very little rain throughout the year. This therefore results in a severe lack of water for the community. Cynthia’s family have to walk over 2km to the nearest water pump, which if lucky has water available once every 2 weeks. If the pump has no water they then need to walk 5km to the lake full of crocodiles and hippos where they collect dirty water, which cows, sheep and goats all drink water from.
Cynthia at times collects the water for her family alone, walking 10km to the lake and back sometimes even during the evening hours.
Cynthia wakes up at 5:40am where if her family have water she will begin her day by filling a basin and washing herself before helping to wash her younger brother. She will then start her chores where she will sweep and help with any washing of dishes or clothes.
Due to lack of money Cynthia does not have any breakfast in the morning and walks 2km to school on an empty stomach. When Cynthia leaves school at 1pm she returns to her home where she will help prepare for her only meal of the day. On a daily basis she will eat Rwandans traditional food of Casava and beans.
Both of Cynthia’s parents are unemployed, so as you can imagine feeding their family is a daily struggle and some days they may go without any food. After eating Cynthia will help with cleaning the dishes. The remainder of her afternoon is spent going and searching for grass to feed the family goat and/or collecting fire wood for the kitchen.
On rare occasions, when all chores are completed Cynthia will go and play with her friends who live nearby where they will play games such as throwing stones to each other, and jumping over sticks.
At 7pm due to lack of light Cynthia and her family all go to bed.
Cynthia’s parents were never given the opportunity to be educated. Due to Cynthia’s support she is now attending school every day where she also received a hot school meal. She is being given a chance to break her families’ poverty cycle.
Cynthia’s support is changing her family’s life.