We were thrilled to share in the excitement of Rwinkwavu residents who gathered along with our Partners In Health family, the Ministry of Sports and Culture and other local officials and community leaders on February 7th to celebrate the ground breaking for the Rwinkwavu Community Library and Learning Center.
It was a warm but thankfully breezy day. We set up chairs and a PA system to the left of what will be the main entrance, under the welcome canopy of an Umuvumu tree, which in Rwanda, is considered a symbol of healing and peace. What a wonderful spot it will be for a bench, providing a shady outdoor space to read on the library grounds.
Speaking at the event, Emmanuel Bugingo, Director of the National Library and Public Reading for the Ministry of Sports and Culture, encouraged Rwinkwavu residents “to come to this Center and make use of it.” He went on to say that the Center is in line with the government’s plans to educate people, to increase their knowledge and encourage them to read for pleasure
Dr. Peter Drobac, Director of Partners In Health in Rwanda, spoke about the connection between health and education as the foundations of prosperity, “Once people are healthy they ask, Now what? How am I going to have a brighter future? The answer is, education.”
As we scooped up shovelfuls of red earth, cheers and applause went up from the crowd. Curious children inched closer, looking on from the front edges and people walking by on the main road wandered up the path to see what all the fuss was about.
At the close of the ceremony, with a sweeping view of the Rwinkwavu valley as a backdrop, we were treated to the beautiful music and dancing of a local dance troupe and we joined in with our less rhythmic but just as joyous style.
The 7800 square foot Center will open its doors in approximately a year. The construction fence and shed and other site preparations are in the process of being set up. We’ll have some photos soon and will continue to keep you posted as there is more to report.
Attached are links to the press release that appeared in the Partners In Health, March 2011 e-Newsletter and in The New Times, the most largely circulated daily newspaper in Rwanda.