Kigali and the Dufataye Cooperative in Nyanza

Over the weekend I had several very worthwhile experiences.

I got some chores done in Kigali, and then had dinner in the home of new friends, Cal and Mimi Wilson.

Cal is a family medicine doctor and a faculty member at the University of Colorado Denver.

He is UCD Director of the Capacity Building Project in Medical Education in Rwanda, which is a consortium of several US med schools working to strengthen medical education here.

He also directs a family medicine residency program in Rwanda — and we have several mutual friends.

Cal and Mimi have done similar work in Jordan and Ecuador in the past.

After church on Sunday, we drove to Nyanza, about two hours south of Kigali, to visit with Godfrey Kalema and his wife Diane.

We had met last year when we were in Rwanda.

Godfrey is a high school teacher who started a non-profit group in 2003 called the Dufatanye Cooperative.

It provides a place to live and some opportunity for income for extremely poor people who are HIV positive.

Currently seventy seven people live there, most of whom are on anti-retroviral therapy.

Will had spent the past two days there — working at the Cooperative.

After lunch at Godfrey and Diane’s house, we went to Dufatanye.

You can see pictures of our visit at www.flickr.com/photos/billroper.

The members of the coop welcomed us with song and dance — and Will and even I got into it!

Then there was some speechmaking and translating, ending with their giving us gifts they had made, woven grass baskets and other items.

We walked around and saw their gardens — and then their brick and roof tile making activities. Will had worked on this and did cabbage planting too.

He had a great time there — and told the group that he looks forward to coming back next year!

We Americans have so much to be grateful for — and so much to learn from others. I was really moved by my time at Dufatanye.

We are now at Butare — a bit further south. It is the third largest city in Rwanda, and the home of the National University of Rwanda, so think of it as the Chapel Hill of this country.

More to come, stay tuned!

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