Trip to Rwanda promises cultural experience

Amelia Raether

After a successful first trip to Rwanda last summer, BSM junior high social studies teachers James Cave and Dave Kuntz are planning the trip again, this time opening it to students to join them on this educational experience.

“Rwanda: the Land of 10,000 Hills” is an experience for high school credit that begins with four classroom sessions and culminates in a trip to Rwanda for a historical and cultural examination of the nation.

The trip will be split up into two halves, with the first devoted to a cultural experience and the second to visiting genocide memorials and massacre sites.

“The first week will be spent at the town of Ruhengeri, and students will be broken up into four small groups, with each group a different activity each day,” said Mr. Kuntz. These activities include seeing the mountain gorillas, visiting a small village and making banana-leaf mats and bowls, visiting a brick factory and helping to make bricks, and helping out at the Imbabazi Orphanage.

The second week will be spent visiting various churches in Nyamata, Ntrama, and Murambi, and visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial, a large museum dedicated to those affected by the genocide in Rwanda.

The students will also be able to enjoy some free time as tourists in the capital city of Kigali and will be staying at Hotel des Mille Collines, the hotel depicted in the movie Hotel Rwanda.

“Our goals are for kids to experience another culture, to learn about the genocide and its consequences, and to get out of their element. We’ve talked to the students a lot about the importance of stepping out of your boundaries, and that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, it’s just a different experience,” said Mr. Kuntz.

“It’s very safe,” said Mr. Kuntz. “Both Mr. Cave and I feel very safe in Rwanda, and because the Rwandan economy relies on tourism, [the Rwandan government] is very invested in keeping the tourists and the country safe.”

The preparatory classes will begin in early May, and the trip will last from June 5 to June 19 led by Mr. Cave, his wife, Mr. Kuntz, and fellow BSM teacher Anna Overbo.