Day 3: Kigali International Community School

Class at KICS learning about international development.

Today we got the opportunity to visit the Kigali International Community School (KICS) for the first time on our trip. It seems like an amazing place. Everybody was very welcoming, starting from the security guards that let us in and ending with the kids going back inside as we were leaving and high-fiving one of my peers. Ivan also welcomed us. Every time I see him his positivity and energy amazes me. The kindness of the Rwandan people is something I have noticed and greatly appreciate, but he even blows them away. We went in and checked out the basketball court. I noticed the facilities were quite nice. The basketball court looked to be in good condition, the playground looked very inviting, and there were little kids in classes doing something on laptops with headphones on.

We used one of the classrooms ourselves. Danny taught us about the evolution of development theories. They have come a long way in just a short time since World War II. The Marshall Plan was the first development to take effect (1947), and it decided that a lump sum of money would be given to Europe to help them recover from the war. Due to the success of this plan, there was an expectancy that the richer countries had all the answers to development problems and that money was all that was needed. Fast forward to the current theory using the UN Development Goals, a lot of progress has been made. Those goals are voted on by the entire UN, so all types of countries get a voice in the matter. Then these goals are applied to a developing country, and efforts are focused on the actual weaknesses of that particular country instead of general issues that are assumed. The developing countries finally have a voice, and they use it to help identify the particular areas where help is needed.

Peeking in the classroom next door
we saw kids with computers and headphones.

Later in the day, our class was able to Skype with a Hokie Nation member Jackie Tront, an engineer working for the World Bank. She was able to shed light on one of the projects she works on involving Rwanda. The Nile River basin includes many countries (including Rwanda), and they all have to share this major water source. If one country decides to block a significant amount of water off, then it can devastate the countries further downstream. The World Bank provides a forum for all of these countries to come together and discuss the situation.

On Saturday we plan on going to the Akagera National Park, out of the things we have remaining in the trip I am probably most excited for this one. There are two main reasons, and they are totally worth getting up for a 4:30 AM breakfast and leaving at 5 AM. The first reason is when else am I going to get to see lions and rhinos in their natural habitat? The second reason is because we will be leaving Kigali for the first time. Kigali has a lot to explore, but I am very eager to see what exists outside of it. I have a feeling that Kigali is only one face that Rwanda has to offer and I don’t want to judge all of Rwanda on just Kigali.

-Joseph Cruz

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