Ministry of Youth
A meeting room with tables placed in a square, advisors to the Minister behind their laptops (which they frequently attend to) and us (Clowns without Borders, Sweden) promoting the Gisenyi Acrobats, so that their organisation may get a higher formal status as official partner to the ministry. (The Minister herself attends a cabinet meeting with the President, at Hotel Serena in Gisenyi, where we had breakfast last week.)
The meeting seems to be a successful starting point for work on a higher level, for our friends. At the same time, the Rwandan administration is slowly starting to value sport and cultural activities for it’s youth as important for the development of a country. My amateur opinion is that economic growth in this country, to lead to anything for the individual citizens, must be accompanied by cultural development, even if that will create bumps in the road for the politicians. Freedom of speech and mind, expressions of individuality with solidarity, not patriotism, is what builds a sustainable Rwanda.
Gihembe and Nyabiheke
My teacher-college Nalle leads the tour to two more refugee camps for Congolese people, Gihembe and Nyabiheke. I stay behind for meetings and curing sun-stroke.
The group, I am told, is met by thousands of kids, immediately surrounding them as they exit the bus. The first show is chaotic, with the usual upsetting scenes of grownups with sticks, beating small children to control the crowd. But at the same time there is enough positive excitement in the crowd to give them positive memories and inspiration for months to come. Months, by the way, where the camp most likely will have no visitors, except from the people working there.
For the show in the second camp, the group is better prepared and has adjusted the show to fit this kind of crowd. The students are happy and I think a little bit proud of their accomplishments of the day. Nalle reminds them that we are sometimes attempting the impossible, when performing in these situations, with the small resources we have. The attempt, the mere being there, the caring, is a lot of the times half the accomplishment.
Huge dams of frustration are building up in camps like this, around the world. We are but a safety valve of laughter.