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#MakersMonth: A Rwanda Travel Diary

This summer, our lovely intern, Ade, traveled to Rwanda on an AllPeopleBeHappy scholarship to work closely with our artisan partners on a range of exciting projects in product development, design innovation, quality control & more {thanks, APBH}! We chatted with her to get an inside glimpse into her time spent there – from her day-to-day activities to her deepest moments of inspiration. Keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at her trip & the moving stories she’s come home with.
“Muraho! Greetings from Rwanda! I recently returned from an awe-inspiring six-week trip to the Land of a Thousand Hills. While there, I was able to work alongside the Indego Africa production team with a focus on product development. There were so many highlights of my trip, from taking in the picturesque sites of Rwanda’s countryside to interacting with the many bright-eyed children on the streets. Nevertheless, connecting and working with the amazing female artisans Indego Africa partners with was an experience like no other.

My workdays never looked the same. Some days were dedicated to quality control of products, running the gamut from weaving and dying techniques to shaping and carving cow horn and tin pieces. Other days consisted of placing new product orders and sample orders to various cooperatives. I loved these days. It was crystal clear from my very first visit to the cooperatives that the artisan women truly cherish the partnership they have with Indego Africa. This appreciation was extremely apparent when the women received new product orders from us. They would literally jump for joy. I recall one day while visiting Twiyubake – a banana-leaf-weaving cooperative – that the women were so overjoyed about receiving another order that they jokingly asked us to leave so they could start on their work. At such moments, I gained a better understanding of how great an impact Indego Africa’s work has on the personal and economic empowerment of these female artisans.

This realization came full circle during my last few days in Rwanda. While visiting the home of Rose, an artisan from Ingenzi Knit Union, she invited me go outside and take a look at a cow she had just bought for her family. She was smiling from ear-to-ear once she set her eyes on her new purchase.  Rose went on to tell me that she was able to purchase the cow with the money she earned from working with Indego Africa. She is now able sell the cow’s milk for additional income and provide for her family. Sweet memories like these motivate the work I am able to do with Indego Africa each day. I am so grateful for the opportunity to have been able to experience Rwanda and its people.”

We are so glad that Ade traveled to Rwanda this summer and was able not only to meet our partners in person, but also to make a deep impact in their lives by helping them to learn new skills & perfect old ones! Keep your eyes peeled for more on the exciting projects & new products she worked on this summer - there are lots of great things in store