Kibungo goats

Kibungo goats

After the dust and dirt of Kiwangala, the past couple of days have been spent cleaning the bits that haven't seen water for a while and it is now time to move again. Today I head east towards the Tanzania border and the Eglise Vivant at Kibungo.

A two hour bus ride from Kigali takes me to Kibungo centre. This is a small bustling town with a sizeable hospital and a modern college. A short walk takes me to the church which is located by the college. I am informed that Pastor Joseph has had to go to a meeting in Kigali. We probably passed each other on the road. His secretary is very helpful though and arranges for two boys who help at the church to show me around.

The main purpose of today's visit is to see some of the goats given by Loanhead Parish church to widows in the area. Prince and Viateur are my two guides and after protracted negotiations with three moto-taxi riders, we head out into the hills leaving three trails of dust behind us.

Our first stop is the house of Vestine, a widow whose husband died a few months ago. She lives with her young son along a dirt track perhaps three kilometres from the church. There are no shops or other facilities nearby. The goat which Vestine was given has reproduced.

The inside of the house is spartan. There is a small table, three plastic chairs and a small wooden bench. The floor is earth. Vestine explains that she hopes to be able to build up the goats to perhaps three or four, selling off surplus animals for income.

One of the benefits of goats even before they are sold is that they produce manure. Because the land in Rwanda is so intensively cultivated, regularly fertilising is needed to produce edible crops.

Our second house-call is to Fabiola who lives on another dirt track on the other side of Kibungo. She is a genocide survivor and is fortunate to have been allocated a new-build house by the government. Her goat is kept in a pen behind the house and spends its time nibbling at anything vegetable lying around. Fabiola has a daughter at school and hopes that her animal will be able to reproduce and allow her to pass one of the kids onto someone else in the church.

Our moto-taxis drop the three of us back in Kibungo just in time to enjoy a quick, cold Fanta before catching the bus back to Kigali. The thinking behind giving out goats is that families with no other means of supporting themselves can develop a sustainable means of generating income. This is definitely a long-term strategy but from what we have seen today the families who have benefited should be able to look forward to a better future than they might have had otherwise.