Wednesday, 27 November 2013


Joining ICS-TearFund has not come hazardly, it’s just for a reason of which sometimes I even fail to explain to my colleagues how I decided to abandon other duties including working for a local popular radio station-88.3 FM( City Radio known as INSHUTI ya BOSE). I do remember on the very first time while introducing ourselves, I stood up and said” My name is Innocent MUVUNYI, aged…, I am an A1 Holder in Journalism and Communication, before joining TearFund ; I’s working for City Radio!” This sounded punchy a lot as later talking to one of my ICS TearFund staff on condition of anonymous I noticed that TearFund has a certain perception about journalists. Call it bad or good, that stereotype is there and it has helped me feeling like they already know or pretend to know how courageous and communicative journalists are. This is due to one element of the previous team’J. Claude RUZIGANDE famously known as Mandela’ who has taken Rob’s, Maddie’s and Joan’s emotions. Having had the ambition of interviewing people on the field visit day in ICS-TearFund  volunteering, alongside Mathew( a UK volunteer), they produced a very good documentary of which so far High Speed appreciate uncountedly.
Not only did my colleagues from TearFund were asking how a paid employee leave his job for the entire ten weeks volunteering, but also many of my workmates at City radio asked me prenty times where were I going. Some thinking that I have got a better job( some staff inclusive), others predicting that I am going abroad but the real answer I gave to everyone is that I am committed to volunteer in ICS program  with the intention of growing spiritually( as we always have devotions of which I didn’t even know that they have), sharing another culture(as the team is made of UK volunteers and in country ones). I expected also to be in progress of my English skills by speaking to English native speaker, knowing how people from another continent react, behave, dress etc.
I heard about ICS for the first time from my former high school mate’ Ruzigande Jean Claude a.k.a Mandela’( the one I have mentioned above). We met after evening mass at St Michel Catholic Church sometimes back in June. Having passed many days no see, we discussed a lot, talking about how our holidays were, what projects we may come up with, how are other former classmates of which we don’t meet easily and diverse stuffs. Accompaning Claude and standing opposite KCT’Kigali City Tower’, I recall that I and Norbert Mudahemuka( my classmate at National University of Rwanda in Journalism and Communication-Bac III) asked ‘Mandela’ what was he going to stuck on during the holidays and the later responded happily- on his face even though it was dark! He said” guys, u need to look for ways of working with NGOs”!’ I am going to be with a certain organization which help people all over the world to Make a Difference and Be Transformed! As I normally consider Mandela as a comedian, I didn’t believe what he told us, and kept asking him how did he joined and what is the name of that organization. Unfortunatelly, Mandela is not a person of memorizing things, he was like not sure about the name of the organization. He said, man don’t worry, I will let you know either via facebook or any other social network( as he pretend to know that I am always on fcbk while I sometimes leave it logged in and people keep sending me msgs). What he told us is that the organization is called ‘TearFund’, then we called it a night as it was approaching late hours.
From there  I could neither sleep nor eat without googling what is TearFund. On our way home I told Norbert to ask for more info so that we also take part in TearFund. Arrived home, I failed to search about TearFund as there was no internet in my small house( ghetto) as it’s known in Universities and High Institutions). I decided to writte down TearFund in draft messages in my phone. After sometimes, I got to read about ICS, TearFund, how do they work, how do they select volunteers either in country or UKs. I talked to Mandela, asking him alot of questions regarding TearFund and how I can join. Having missed the first call of mine, Claude called me back and promised me to send me the application form and keep me in touch with any update.
Below is the first doc he sent me! It’s really hooking and can attract anyone!
International Citizen Service
Make a Difference and Be Transformed!
Want to learn about international development? Want to be equipped to make a positive difference in your community? Read on . . .

      Each January, April, July and September interns will be arriving from the UK to do community work with our local partners in Muhanga, Rwamagana and Kigali.  We are inviting Rwandan youth with a passion to make a difference in their own communities to join them,starting April 2013!You will receive:
      An opportunity to learn about another culture as you live and work together with your UK colleagues
      An opportunity to grow in your faith and learn about development work with regular structured learning sessions
      All costs (Food, accommodation & transport) covered plus a weekly stipend to help you with personal expenses
      A certificate of completion and membership to the alumni association of ICS Rwanda with opportunities to stay involved in community development work

      To apply you should:
      Be 18-25 years old
      Be older than 23 with leadership experience of you want to apply for a leader
      Have excellent English language skills
      Be able to commit full time for 10 weeks; beginning October – beginning December (exact dates to be confirmed)
      Have a desire to learn about development work
      Have a commitment to serve your community and nation
      Be willing to participate in field activities
      Be a committed follower of Jesus with a Godly character
Places for the October group are limited and the deadline for applications is Wednesday, 31 July 2013. Details of later intakes may be found in the application pack.
Application forms are available on request and will be emailed to you. Please contact:
 Don’t miss the opportunity of a lifetime, apply today!

Want to learn about international development? Want to be equipped to make a positive difference in your community? Read on . . .
After reading this document, I was feeling like already selected to join ICS-TearFund. I started telling one of my workmate-Nelson Kubwimana, how we should change our lives by joining ICS. For him he could not believe what I was telling him but later got interested after reading what a internee will get after compliting ten weeks. Later on, Mandela sent me an application form and kept giving me details. I filled in the form, letting Norbert unaware not because I didn’t want him to know, instead because of running after the deadline which was scheduled on Wednesday 31 July 2013 and I was like late. Having almost done filled the application form, remaining with writing my referees, revising my CV, Norbert caught me in action and asked me why didn’t I let him know and passed him the application. I replied him to bring the removable devise and help him filling it as there was nothing  though. He smiled and said, man u’ve cheated on me! U sould have told me earlier so that I too try out my chance.’ Norbert didn’t apply.
After applying, I sent my file to the provided email and waited for reading from Joan. It took like three or four weeks to get an email from TearFund telling me that I have been selected to sit for interview.

This is the email I got!

After reading this message I immediately rang Mandela to tell him  about the good news then waited for the interview’s date. Meanwhile, I kept exchanging emails with Maddie or Joan cse ain’t sure who was sending me messages telling them that I am still interested in ICS Programs.
On..... I read from Maddie an cell message calling me to come to sit for interview. What’ a fearful day and night!’. In fact, I sat for interview once in my life( on TV 10 on occasion of applying for reporter and news presenter where by I was not selected(  )) and I was thinking of what kind of questions will they ask me?!- Will I manage the white’s accent? Won’t it be like undermining and making Mandela look small if I failed the interview? These are some of the questions I was asking myself but sorry- no answers!
Did you know that before going for interview I sat and studied tips of interview, types of interview, how do they dress on interview’s day,...? It was really a good time to also learn about something I didn’t know before. Something stupid I did, is asking Mandela, “ man should I bring and what do they ask?”Hhhhhhhh, cheating is in my blood! Mandela, wishing me to pass the interview told me two things: man, keep ur time and don’t take a motto.( Joan hate it and transport will be covered, don worry!).
Merde! Keeping time is not a problem to a journalist who always has to respect news deadline but not taking a motto in Kigali, is something else especially when you want to keep your time. I took the risk and drove on  a motto under condition that Joan or Maddie will know! Just my secret how I did so! I was supposed to arrive at Moucecore Building at 11h40 a.m but because I was warned about keeping time, I arrived before. The gatekeeper welcame me but something I won’t forget in my life his intimidation toward me. He asked me a funny question but which has a lesson indeed.” Before I open for you and let you go in for the interview, I have a question and if you give me gthe right answer, you will pass the rest. Give me an example of Kinyarwanda words starting by letter “ O “. I brainstormed but all I could get was nothing like forging words. I thought of” Omwana, Omwami, Omuntu,... but all of these words do not exist in Kinyarwanda. The gatekeeper being busy on the other side, I started feeling ashamed of not finding a single word starting in “O” while I pretend to be an expert in my mothertongue. Good enough after opening for someone, the gatekkeperof which i don’t know his name came to me and asked if i have finished the assignment. I told him what I was guessing to be the right answer but nothing lese except laughing at me. Finally, he told me that it’s part of Grammar law that no Kinyarwnda word starts beginning with O letter, something I have never heard before while I completed three years doing languages and got Excellent grade in( ENGLISH-FRENCH-SWAHILI-KINYARWANDA+GENERAL PAPER ). This caused me asking whether I really merit to be a Rwandan or not*
After this brainstorm, I entered Moucecore Building and got seated on the pending bench, Imet there  a beautiful chick but ‘cse of enough fear I only dared telling her ‘Hello’, amakuru yanyu, are u also part of interviewees? She replied in a sweet voice’yes’. After like 20 minutes came Claudine who seemed like havingenough info regardin TearFund, we exchanged ideas, getting to know each other. Some finishing the interview and told us” it’s tough guys, watch ur back ”!Then I waited for the hour. Seated there, some interviewees finished their part and came outside to greet us and disappear, others coming late or on time as a single person has his/her rendez vous. What was really strange is the coming and going  of people of whom I later found that they are interviewers-Maddie & Beth Adams. The later came out and asked everyone what time we were asked to sit for interview and luckly me, I arrived before time, which a pleasure for me to keep time as Mandela warned me. Once, Beth came to me and apologized for some minutes delay.
I jetted in the the interview’s hall around 12h04 min, guided by Maddie, stumering and shaking abit. I got seated, facing both Maddie and Beth but due to fear I had, all I know is that I started by introducing myself.  Great pleasure to say that I am doing Journalism and Communication and working for City Radio! They( in fact Joan) asked me how I heard about ICS, telling them from a friend and they insisted as if informing someone is a crime in TearFund but I realised later that it is with the intention of making sure who connected you and reflect how he/ she behaved while volunteering. I told them that I heard about ICS from Claude; whom they know well. They teased me with hot questions one after another and I was like being bombed and shoot in turn. The fact that I have been hosting radio programs show, inviting high profile authorities and as well as attending press conference meeting helped me to give expected answers to Joan and Beth that they finally told me to wait for the calling upon for the orientation day after giving me enough ticket for coming and going back. This fact, raised hope in me, they themselves said’ we will inform you asap whether you have passed or not’, the orientation day is in the coming week. I asked myself, why are they talking about the orientation day while results are not yet out? Going back home, I contacted Claude and told him how they teased me and how I stood in front of them. Mandela pretended to believe in me but for me, being interviewed by foreigner with her accent can make me fail! It was on Friday, the weeke-end passed, Monday came no email. May be that I have been dropped I swear, that’s what came to my mind when I was checking my box. Later on, I got an email calling me for the orientation day. It’s here below

The man himself, woke up early in the morning, with his diarly then headed to Moucecore. Arrived there, the same gatekeeper was there but no brainstorm this time. Instead he opened for me and took me to onother crew of ladies and gents. I can’t forget how one of them tried like to consider me as a new comer(Umururu) by telling me to introduce myself. I told the crew” thank you guys, I find you here, may be you have been discussion about given topics and I want to join you!” One of them( Muhire Innocent), intervened and asked me first to start by introducing myself but I insisted that they do so first. What a hell was that! They started by pretending to introduce the next person to you. My name is Gloria while it’s Rachel talking, my name is Patrice while it’s Muhire talking, My name is Miss Rwanda while it’s Aurora talking or Grace who later abandoned. This kind of game took like ten minutes but being a journalist and a critical thinker doesn’t allow me to accept things blindly. I insisted that everyone introduces her/himself. It’s done and I got to know them then afterwards we headed upstairs for the induction day.

Maddie, Rob, Beth and Joan  took us into what is TearFund and ICS Program, we watched a documentary produced by the previous teams. Something of importance is”ICS CODE OF CONDUCT”, tough enough to believe how volunteers should behave. 
Here are some of Do’s and Dont’s while volunteering for ICS-TearFund.
* Never drive in the back
* Never drive by urselves
*Use public transport
* Never ride on a bike or moto
* Never drink alcohol nor think about it
*Never download pornographic movies nor watch them.
*Always be back home by 6h00 p.m ( but Kimironko team is by 9h00 p.m)
*Avoid any type of abuse.
* Never make relationship- fall in love with a volunteer while in ICS program
*Always go as a team

As we were told these codes, some of us started thinking how they will manage and behave in a good way so that they do not conflict or break these rules. For me, nothing more difficult than leaving my placement for ten weeks as I am used to rotate around! Lol  Not only did ICS staff take us through TearFund code of conduct, they also told us about UK, they style, some of it’s beauties, leaders( PM, Queen, Prince Walles pictures, to mention a few).It’s really been a good time for in country volunteers to rise their expectations after ICS programs as well as showing the challenges they may face. Among them, is culture differences, which englobes food, dressing, language, etc. Then we wrapped up by getting our transport fees after filling an ICs survey paper.
After that day, it was time to prepare our luggage for 10 weeks of which we started on 1st October. During the rest of the days, I managed to run of the permission and talk to my workmates to stand for me for ten weeks and I really appreciate their spirit of covering one’s gape. Special thanks to Oswaki, Mwerekande, Nelson, Bonfils and Besiga Davis- Blaise.
It took alot of minutes to get to the 1st October to meet UK volunteers. Unfortunately, having been running alot of stuffs, I arrived to Moucecore abit late comparing to the supposed time which is not later than 5:30 p.m. As I was late, other in country volunteers were already socializing with UK volunteers outside the living room. Valentin( Cyangugu team leader) took me upstairs where I met ROB, some other UKs whom Rob introduced me to but for bad chance, I could hardly follow their accent. One of the person I should share the room with is David Unwin but when 1st told me his name, I pretended to have understood and something surprising is that he was getting everthing I told him to the extent that he asked me where did I learn the English I was speaking. After ten minutes or more may be, I and David got to share abit, speaking about how we joined ICS, educational background, familial, culture and other brainstorming questions then we moved to the evening room where we were normally taking breakfast, lunch and dinner from. I sat on the same table with whites, eating the same food, discussing abit and life went on.

Having a look on how we spent the 1st week at Moucecore, on the second October, in the upstairs room, volunteers shared expectations, challenges and how they may solve some of the challenges. What an amazing day, teaching some Kinyarwanda lesson UK volunteers which is very difficult even to repeat a single word.  Something surprising is so far ecen most of UK volunteers from my team cannot reapet some nems as they are prounced !We taught them counting from one-thousand so that in case they go for shopping, people won’t cheat on them.
Later on during that week, we exchanged  some values, taboos in both Rwanda and UK.
Check out what u’re not allowed to do while in UK or with an English person

We spent almost the whole week talking about different stuffs regarding TearFund code of conduct, getting to know each other as we will spent the rest of nine weeks altogether. Having breakfast, lunch and dinner with UK volunteers helped alot Rwandan volunteers and vice versa cse we all faced differences in terms of culture.  I cannot hide you readers of this blog how in country volunteers are used to eat enough food(...) at once contrary to UKs who eat a few but every now and then! This is a very good experience of scire vivere!

Not only in that week volunteers spend their time at Moucecore only, we also visited the Gisozi genocide Memorial. It’s a Memorial center located in Kigali where thousands of Tutsi and moderated Hutu remainings are buried in honor. Both volunteers got to know more about what happened during the 1994 genocide against Tutsi. For some, it was their first time to witness by themselves such a horrible story even though they have been told and read about it before.( in fact, they learnt alot from this visit). The following day, teams had a talent competition which was wone by Cyangugu team. What a fantastic evening! To see people coming up with new talents I have ever seen. Rwamagana team, which I take part of, came up with “Dancing- WHERE’S THE LOVE” in a new style however, the winner is Cyangugu team with their Valantine teamleader preaching as a pastor but he pretended to be a DJ at the same time! Lol up
Below, is the picture of how it looked like! Rwamagana team in “Where’s the love dance style”
(photo from


a picture of all TearFund volunteers before they got dispacthed

funny pose!!!!!!!11  Innocent on one side and another Innocent on the oter one
( All volunteers)
It was on a certain Friday that some teams knocked their rooms to go to a different placements. Kimironko team is the first to take their luggage and others followed.
Rwamagana team took the second to fly to their placement. One crew was driven by Felix in a pick up Toyota and the road was too long as volunteers were eager to reach to Rwamagana which they were told before to have good times there. It’s beem a very good fo UKs to travel in a pick up in the thousand hills country the way long from Kigali to Rwamagana. This, didn’t take a lot of  time and when arrived there, Jado welcome us and we cannot forget the amazing Monkey we found there but for bad chance, it disappeared.
Below is the Guest House, in which we stay, sharing rooms- 2 UKs alongside in country volunteers.


The first night in Rwamagana was really good. I, myself was not used to this place’s climate ever since I have never slept in this city slum; I have been there for may be thrice by just bypassing going to the field or for my stuff. Within 3 hours, we received two visitors for welcoming us. Wilson, whom we later always meet in devotions , in an AEE staff member and Callixte, the most amazing person Rob has ever met in his 23 years life! Callixte who works for ICs-International Church Service, is always touching each and everything he sees! Due to this habit of Callixte, he has gotten a nickname(Mr Always Touching). These guys really welcome us and made us feel home. We spent the night there and then, started a new lifestyle- living in another culture, different day schedule and always timing!
Back to the first week in Rwamagana, we started going through mischellenous projects run by AEE alongside TearFund. Rob, who is familiar with this place took us to Center for Champions and we met funny people Emmy, Eric to mention a few who are always happy. Rather than this, we walked around Rwamagana and I cannot forget the funny mkecuru-Cecilia who is a shopwoman selling different stuffs. She speaks a little English but this doesn’t prevent her from being very social with foreigners especially.
One day encouraging us to buy more items despite that we don’t want them. Customer!!!!!!!!!!!!

Probably, you may be waiting for what the entire team has been doing the next days, don’t worry, just be patient. Before I take you through all that, the introduction sounds punchy!!!!!!!!!! Anyway, below is a few of what activities  and projects we have been running, they are not all here but the most important and attractive ones are highlighted in phases. DON’T MISS UP
The very first project we run, is helping Catch up students to revise for their state exams. We starded by taking them through English revision, the social studies revision and afterwards, we wrapped to Mathematics. It was a really a fabulous time to both volunteers and catch up students as for volunteers everyone had to choose the subject he/her is more interested in than others. Below, are the caption of almost all catch up revision we did but before I go straight to the point, let me share with you something exciting in this session of revision.
One day, I was leading the Social studies revision and took the students to correcting previous state exams. Among the questions Ihad , one was:” Mention at least three negative and positive effects of tourists in Rwanda.” Answering this question is not a big deal for sure as students studied about tourists in Rwanda before but the fact that they were asked to cite negative effects of tourists contrary to what they learnt brought a very hot discussion between volunteers especially UKs as they are like tourists. One student raised their hand and said” Tourists can be spy!!!!!!!!! Seriously writing not speaking, for the first time, I kept quiet not ‘bcse I didn’t understand what this student wanted to meam, instead just ‘bcse I too was still thinking about this funny answer. I consulted my Uk volunteers and Oswald who is the Social studies teacher but no better answer than the provided we got. We were simply laughing and look at each other then decided to put the question in blackets!!!!!!!!!!! Mbega twebwe
Get the captions plz

helping Catch up 3 in Social Studies revision

Mr David Unwin, helping students in Maths revision
Rachel in Maths revision at Center for Champions
The same Unwin

Gloria in Maths revision

After running the revision club, we move on the Sanitation and Hygiene Club run by the whole team member. In this session, UKs teach and in country volunteers interpret for the students. This is quiet interesting as students get to know what is hygiene,  its importance, dieffereet effects someone can have when he doesn’t have hygiene. Students were taught how to wash their hands, using clean water, soap and they promised the internees to do so in the next time. The next the caption is the pictures of sanitation and Hygiene club. Computer Club, public Speaking  workshop,…

Field visit is intended to show volunteers how life goes on on the other side especially participating in different projects run by AEE in partnership with other organizations such USAID, CARE,… Internees get time to go to see which projects people have started. This is not an easy thing for UK volunteers who are not used to work or having their hands on( digging,…). On the first leg, we visited USAID project which built water spring for the people who used to fetch water from poor springs. More than this, speaking to some of the people we met there at the water spring, they told us that AEE has done something important for them ever since they had no water springs. Lead by Charles, we visited around 8 water springs in….valey where by those springs are separated so that people from different areas acces water.

Dear readers, I can’t really mention everywhatever we run here in words, but just allow me to show u some important pictures of some field visits we had. Some of them, you will notice volunteers digging, which is tough enough for UKs to the extent that it caused them having injuries in their hands*amabavu! One day, we went to visit the self-help groups. Arrived there, we helped them to make a kitchen garden for growing vegetables( cabbages-amashu, carrots, onions, to mention a few) .

Another project we visited( CHH- a forum of orphan children who gathered together and make  like  a copperative which grows different crops. Here, they have came up a maize growing project in terrasses yard.

 The same day, we taught these kids about Sanitation and Hygiene. 

Apart from the field visits, let me come back to differente clubs we started.
ü Computer club which helps students from Catch up, CHF Akazi Kanoze and Vocational Training center to learn basic knowledge about computer. Lead by Charlotte, so far students can at least produce something using  Microsoft painter, Power point, Microsoft word and they are in a good progress.
ü Public speaking workshop: Guided by me myself, students learnt about what is  public speaking, tips a good public speaker may follow, watching sample of public speakers around the world( US president Barack Obama, Rwanda president Paul Kagame) and practice counts a lot as well.
ü Arts and drawing club which is headed by Helen where by students draw pictures on their random. One day they drew what the Center for Champions means for them. Afterward, we based on their drawings and made a mural.( still on going activity)
ü Fun club, headed the funniest mzungu I have ever seen, David-nicknamed Shyaka. This club is aimed at having fun basically but for bad chance, it has never been run but students have eager to meet Shyaka at least once and enjoy blagues.

Wrap up of this edition

One day, we had a drawing competition and I myself was not part of contesters, instead the judge. Everyone had to do something for pleasing me so that I pick out their drawings and finally all of participants were including” Innocent is amazing, a good banana for Innocent, Ice cream for Innocent,... 

Another day, UK volunteers were having the same competition and David Unwin was the judge, so they had to bribe him so that they win the competion.

I cannot tell you about the man of hundred funny faces unless u guess out who is them( he or she)  !!!!!!!!1 lol
David is amazing, he has saved the north!etc
My worst fairule ever had in my 23s is missing the point when I was asked by the In Country manager at an occasion visit. She asked me if being a journalist and Mandela Clause happened by random! Honestly, I misunderstood but don not ask me what I heard so that I answered by a simple "no" and everyone at the table was like considering me like an I don not know creature but later on they asked me. Thanks alot to u my teammates who translated for me!!! 

                                             Rwamagana team photoS

David - the expert in the group and is fresh out of his A levels
Heren (Helen) – her love for children shines through and experienced as a primary school teacher. 
Charlotte – our expert in international development and despises banana's unless they're cooked and  mashed up so they look and taste more like potatoes!
Rachel – Brings the fun and is knowledgeable from being a trained Midwife
Gloria – Happy, sings all the time and gets involved, especially in basketball! 
Innocent – Our communications expert and radio journalist at a popular radio station in Rwanda. 

I am really wouhhhhh!!!!!!!
Hot topic!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have a short piece of comment!!!!!!!!!
High priest!!!!!!!!!!


  1. what nice story!thought it is too late to read it is amazing,you can read it again and again,didnt know you are such great writer