Friday, September 24, 2010

Environment day!

As linked previously, GACP organizes a now-annual competition for the environmental clubs of 14 schools surrounding Gishwati forest. My counterpart organized this year’s for September 24, and I had the privilege of watching. The theme this year was “Students educating their families and communities about the environment.” Each school prepared a skit, song/dance and poem about the forest and environment. At the end they gave out awards in three categories: primary schools, 9-year schools (the first 9 years are free), and secondary schools. I had the opportunity to introduce myself to everyone at once, which was a decent tradeoff for the sunburn I got sitting in the sun for 6 hours.

Although I couldn’t understand everything (except for the primary school that had a kid who translated everything into English!), I thought the performances were great. Rwandans absolutely love drama and dancing, and the kids were extremely enthusiastic. Plays often touched on the topic of poaching (and kids had fun acting like chimps) or firewood (with even primary school kids setting fires in the middle of the “stage” which fortunately was a dirt field). I was excited to see that one secondary school group advocated using new low-fuel stoves. The song and dance routines were a mix of traditional Rwandan dance and modern hip-hop influenced music. One secondary school also painted a sign about protecting the forest, too!

A few pictures are below. Sorry about the timestamp, it wasn’t my camera. In the background of the pictures you can see Kinihira primary school.

A crowd assembles around the stage:

A very enthusiastic poet reading. It sounded good, even though I didn’t catch much:

The drunk man makes a frequent appearance in Rwandan skits and guarantees a few laughs:
 A man caught illegally harvesting wood is sentenced:
 Primary school kids dancing:

Most adorable?

 Environment rap.
 The kid on the left is a muzungu tourist with a banana-leaf camera:
 Secondary school kids dancing:

Students demonstrate a fuel-efficient stove. This skit was done entirely by boys, and the one in the pink shirt drew riotous laughter - note he’s gone as far as to stuff some cloth in the skirt to give himself a more feminine behind:

Poachers are caught as chimps look on:

The sign and my sunburn:

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