kivu writers’ workshop number two

maybe you remember i’ve been involved in this project called kivu writers. every year we take twenty of rwanda’s best students on three weekend writing workshops to lake kivu. the first one was fraught with difficulties – missing students, hospitalized students, exploding coffee thermoses. the second one was organized by yours truly. since i’m the only english teacher contracted for the next two years, and because of my natural talents of course, i’m being groomed by the best to take a leadership role next year when the seasoned volunteers are no longer around. so with coaching and help i booked a conference hotel in gisenyi, on the northern shores of lake kivu, i arranged transport, i helped set a schedule and pull together resources, and i travelled back and forth to kigali five times in two weeks to sort out money and other logistics.

and it went off without a hitch.

we had an open mike night where students could share poetry and songs and comedy sketches they’d come up with. we delivered a session on characterization on the beach, sitting in the sand surrounded by street-kids. we went swimming. we told kinyarwanda folk tales gathered in a circle around a campfire flashlight.

my session was delivered with the fabulous gilbert, in french (yes, i taught in french!), on writing for the news. we had the students leave the hotel and go into town in search of a news story. they had ten minutes to chat with whoever – security guards, taxi-drivers, market-sellers, hairdressers, bums, street-kids – to find out what was going on in gisenyi. then they came back and wrote the story. loads of fun.

here are some photos of the gang with isidora teaching a session on characterization on the beach.  there are more to come, including one of me swimming with the students (i even taught some kids to swim!)

isidora teaching sandy students performing on the beach

this time around i was lucky enough to have one of my students from apagie along, david, who’s also the president of our newly founded english club. he came back to school with me and told so many stories to the others, about the hotel and the food and swimming with his english teacher, that i’m still hearing about it two weeks later.

it’s been perhaps the most gratifying thing i’ve done here so far, working with promising young writers, getting to know them and giving them advice on their work in a more personal way than is possible in my classrooms. it’s a project that i’ll follow for the next year and a half, provided funding can be found. i’m hoping they’ll let me go to the third weekend as well, but there’s only room for four volunteers and the competition is stiff – i’ve already been twice now and i don’t know much about the next topic, poetry, so we’ll see.

~ by aliciawolcott on June 24, 2007.

3 Responses to “kivu writers’ workshop number two”

  1. yes good job, i have been also a kww participant in 2004, now im in canada, but i really miss the group, prudent, francis (MATHEMATICIAN) TUMAINE, AYANE FANTA, aMY wHIDETT, AND SO MORE, WE LOVE YOU YOU’VE DONE A GREAT JOB,kwibuka,angele, poline,



  2. Alicia, do you remember that it was my first time to facilitate Kivu Writers. You’ve done great things

  3. Hey guys. Nanjyendabakumbuye…Valentin!!!!

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