Work with ESRI Rwanda and visit to Akagera

Hey all,

it has been a while since I wrote something. So another update is necessary. In my last post I was mentioning that I was waiting for a confirmation to do an internship at a organisation here. Now I am already busy for 2.5 weeks with ESRI Rwanda. ESRI is the developer of the ArcGIS software which I used during my studies. The work I am doing here is not related to my field of study, but I do get a good view of the use of GIS in a developmental context. I am involved in the organisation of a training where we teach district and sector personnel to create maps and update excel sheets to show Tax being paid in the districts in Kigali. It is nice to work again with GIS software and it is also a good exercise to make the training material and give parts of the training to the Rwandans. I would love to use GIS in my future jobs, so hopefully I can find something where I can apply my knowledge. The use of software like GIS will become very important in international Conservation efforts, so I am sure that this experience will help in making me more suitable for future jobs in the Conservation field!

Explaining GIS Symbology
Explaining GIS Symbology

Besides the work I have also traveled in the weekends. After a successful stay at Lake Muhazi I still had two wishes. Going to Akagera NP to see wildlife and going to Kibuye for another visit to the Kivu Lake. Last week we rented a car and went on Saturday to Akagera. First we drove to the Tanzanian border to see the Falls which act as a border between Tanzania and Rwanda. After handing our driver licenses to the Border personnel we were allowed to enter the bridge and make some pictures of the falls. We quickly walked over to the Tanzanian side, so I can say I have been in Tanzania again…

After the visit we went up north to the Akagera park. Doing a small game drive before going to our hotel to have a swim. On the first day we already saw Impala, Giraffe, Buffalo and Zebra. The second day we started driving early to see some more wildlife. After a long day of traveling in our 4×4 we saw a lot of wildlife, only it was a pity that we did not see elephants. The drive in the park was already a great experience. In South Africa a lot of the roads were tarred and didn’t gave me a real wildlife spotting experience. Here we were driving on dirt roads which were especially up in the hills of very bad quality. So the drive was already an off-road experience. Together with the wildlife we were seeing it was an unforgettable experience.

Today we are finalizing the training to the Tax inspectors. Then tomorrow we will go to Kibuye to be a real tourist. Next 1.5 week I will still be working with ESRI Rwanda, however I do not know what I will be doing there. I will work till 12-03 and in the night of 13 to 14 march I will fly back to the Netherlands. But there might be possibilities to return later this year, but more about that later.

So now I have written enough again. I will probably write another blog before I leave.

greetings,

Yannick

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Another update from Rwanda

Hello everyone,

Another two weeks have passed and I am still in Rwanda keeping myself busy. In the past period two noteworthy events happened.
As I already said I was going to hike up the Bisoke. In the end I managed to reach the top, but together with my other mountainclimbing experiences (E.g. In Swaziland with Jordi and Bas hiking up to Devil’s peak if I remember correctly) I must say that I prefer hiking the flat parts of the Netherlands. Especially my knees took quite a beating during the hike up and down the Bisoke. However, the views and the crater-Lake made everything worth it!

The weekend afterwards we where invited to go to Lake Muhazi. This lake is an hour drive from Kigali along dirt roads. But it was definitively worth it. We where staying with somebody of the Salesiens don Bosco at their guesthouse. A lovely place next to the lake with a pedalboat (waterfiets) at our disposal. We had someone cooking for us, so the only things we did were going on the lake with the pedalboat and swim (due to Bilharzia danger it was better to not swim along the shore), walk along the shore and visit the projects of the Salesiens there. All in all a fantastic weekend away!

Now I am waiting for the confirmation of my work at two organisations here in Kigali. So let’s hope I can start this week.

Greetings,
Yannick

Second week of my holiday in Rwanda

Heya everyone,

Another small update from me:

After spending two days in Kigali it was time to move on and enjoy (hopefully) last week of holidays in Gisenyi and Musanze. Saying hopefully must sound strange to everyone, but I am really looking forward to the visits to conservation organisations here in Rwanda. I hope there is a organisation which allows me to get a better understanding of conservation work in Rwanda.

Looking at the landscape of Rwanda still a lot can be done to improve it nature-wise. Especially the massive use of an exotic species for fuelwood and timber purposes (Eucalyptus) will eventually lead to big problems due to the acidity of the leaves, transforming the soil into a habitat where only this exotic species can thrive. In Tanzania the Jane Goodall institute was already busy with replacing the eucalyptus with fast-growing native species which do not affect the soil quality that much. I hope I find organisations here whom are also battling this problem and maybe I can help with my experiences from University and Tanzania.

Now I am in Gisenyi enjoying the beach and tourist life. Tomorrow I will be heading off to Musanze to climb one of the Vulcanoes there together with my father. On sunday we will return to Kigali. My father had to work on monday and I have a meeting with someone working with the BTC on reforestation.

Many greetings,
Yannick

First week in Rwanda

Hey everyone,

During the past week I have written something about my experiences. Hope you enjoy reading what I am up to here:

Day 1: 19-01
After arriving in the night and being picked up at the airport by my father we went to the place I can call home for the coming months. Obviously we needed to drink a beer to celebrate my arrival. The sunday I was invited for a brunch at the house of my father’s boss. Afterwards we went to explore Kigali. Going to the “centre” of town and getting a Rwandan number (+250 0783101086).
Now I am planning the rest of my stay here. Going to lunch with conservationists here, visiting the Nyungwe forest, Lake Kivu etc.

Day 4: 22-01
The last few days I have been wandering around Kigali. This fine wednesday we were heading to Huye (Butare), where we visited a GIZ workshop, the national ethnographic museum and the grave of my father’s uncle ( a missionary here in Rwanda untill 1993). After this visit we continued the journey to Nyamagabe. Here we are spending the rest of the week with a GIZ colleague of Alphons.

Day 5: 23-01
Today my plan was to go and visit the Nyungwe forest by public transport. After waiting 45 minutes I finally got onto a minibus heading in the right direction. I managed to miss the spot I was initially planning to get off the bus, but in the end they dropped me off in a better place than planned: the park touristic headquarters. There I got a guided walk through the forest and also went over the canopy bridge. I really enjoyed hiking the forest, enjoying the views and the magnificent flora. However on the fauna part my trip lacked supremacy. Only seeing one L’Hoest’s monkey and a lot of birds which were too fast for my eyes to have a good look. Afterwards I needed to get back to Nyamagabe, this meant sitting by the roadside waiting for the first minibus with space left to pass by. I was very lucky, since within 5-10 minutes a bus came by with only one seat left. Overall, a fantastic trip.

Now I am enjoying the quiet life in Nyamagabe! Coming week I will travel up north to Ruhondo and afterwards to Gisenyi for a stay at the Kivu Lake.

Greetings Yannick

P.s. Here I present you the view from the house in Nyamagabe:

20140124-093727.jpg

Next Chapter: Rwanda

Hi everyone,

after extending my contract at Naturalis I now finally have something new to look out for.  On January 18 I will fly to Rwanda to visit my father for a period of approximately 2 months. Besides the family visit I will try to enjoy the country and visit several projects regarding nature conservation to get a better view on conservation issues in this part of Africa. I think I will find many similarities with the situation that I encountered in Tanzania.

During this trip I will try to visit the SNV Sustainable Energy programme, Nyungwe forest, Lake Kivu and hopefully Akagera NP. Throughout this period I will keep you updated by using this blog. I am really looking forward to going abroad, however due to the fact that I still have to work up till a week prior to my departure I cannot completely focus on the trip yet…

Greetings,

Yannick

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