Health project volunteer Uma Fernandes – Community Matron
In 2009 I enrolled on the Umbano project and left for Rwanda. We set off to Mount Cyangugu in remote Rwanda to provide healthcare in small remote villages. I brought medical equipment stethoscope, clinical books and magazines which were well appreciated by the team.
We quickly learned how to become resourceful with what little supplies we had. Unfortunately, lack of medical attention has taken an astonishing number of lives in all places in Africa, and continuously stripping away the hope of African people. But for the short time that we were there, we fought to save lives and restore hope. Nursing requires selflessness, responsibility, integrity and so much more. As health care professionals we have the gift and ability to impact people during times when they feel their world is falling apart.
I am returning to Umubano to share my skills and empower and strengthen the nurses skills in Africa to deliver quality care.
Education project volunteer Sophie Roberts – Art student
This year will be my second year with Umubano.
Last year, I took part in the Education project in Rwanda's Eastern Province. I was staying in Rwamagana and teaching primary school teachers in a school in Kayonza. There were six Project members in Rwamagana, including Desmond Swayne MP and my brother John (who was also participating in Project Umubano for the first time). Each member taught one class of about 25 students. After the final class of the day, everyone would gather around the flag pole and each class would perform a song. One day we all sang the 'Hokey-Cokey' (with actions!) together.
I never took a gap year, and as an art history student, my holidays tend to involve wandering around art galleries and museums in Italy. I found the idea of embarking on a trip to Africa pretty daunting and I was incredibly nervous! However, I found the experience thrilling so I would encourage anyone who is not particularly experienced in travelling to countries outside Europe to go for it!
Also - if you are coming to the Eastern Province, make the most of your breakfasts before the trip - every day in Rwamagana it is cold chicken soup at 7.00!
Business project volunteer Arun Photay – in finance
2010 was my first year in Rwanda. I was teaching, but also gave some business advice to local entrepreneurs.
On our second night in Rwanda we were invited to an event arranged for us by genocide survivors. The choir sang and shared stories of loved ones they had lost and how they had survived. A little boy came up to me; he was 5 years old and was there with his father, and started talking to me. I had brought some inflatable balls from England, and when I gave one to the young boy he was so happy. It was a very touching moment and it made me feel proud to be participating in the project.
Come and join us on Umubano. It will be an eye opening and memorable experience. I truly believe that Rwanda and its people gave me a lot me then I could give. What an amazing place.