D-Lab Rwanda: technology demonstrations and community mapping

D-Lab Rwanda team demonstrating the use of charcoal press to members of one of the cooperatives we visited.
D-Lab Rwanda team demonstrating the use of charcoal press to members of one of the cooperatives we visited.

D-Lab student Ashley Wong (Management, Class of 2011) reports from Butare for the Rwanda team:

It has been nearly a week since we arrived in Butare, where we are staying with our very gracious host, the Benebikira Sisters. We started off our week scourging the local market for materials we needed for our charcoal making and corn sheller demonstration, as well as some odds and ends for our other projects.

Working with our partners in the RVCP, we have organized charcoal burn and corn sheller demonstrations with two cooperatives.

D-Lab Rwanda team demonstrating the use of charcoal press to members of one of the cooperatives we visited.
D-Lab Rwanda team demonstrating the use of charcoal press to members of one of the cooperatives we visited.
The same cooperative also invited us to tour their 35 hectare farm.
The same cooperative also invited us to tour their 35 hectare farm. 

We’ve also amused the locals with our several attempts to fly kites on the Butare tarmac for aerial mapping – Jonathan made several valiant attempts to get the kite to fly, only stopping when his stamina wore thin.

Although we couldn’t engage the primary school children we were visiting for the kite mapping due to low winds, we were still able to use our time with them to photographically document deforestation in their communities. In addition, we performed water testing in the same community.

Outside our projects, we’ve visited several museums in Rwanda to learn about the local culture and history as well as visited the National University of Rwanda, where the RVCP is based. We have also gotten soft serve ice cream, of which Marisa is extremely happy about. We’re looking forward to continuing on to Save tomorrow night!