Inside Komera

Komera is the cooperative that makes all of the bags, baskets, wood carvings, etc. that RSF sells at its December fundraiser.  (Mark your calendars for Dec 6 this year at the Depot Station, 203 SE Depot Ave., Gainesville, FL, 32601.)   Thanks to your donations, there are now 34 members at Komera who are striving to attain financial independence by making high quality items targeted initially to local markets in Gisenyi but potentially to worldwide markets as well.  This video captures the atmosphere inside the happy supportive community that is Komera (meaning “strong” in kinyarwanda) .


Please allow me to introduce myself

Mucyo is a preschool that is completely supported by RSF.  Thanks to this support, these 90+ preschoolers are clothed in new uniforms, are fed porridge each day, and spend each day mainly singing through class with three caring teachers in a colorful building (thanks to Jessica, Kyle and Eric’s artistic touches) protected by a full-time security guard.  In this video they introduce themselves.


We are in Rwanda

July 9, 2014

Ewen and I arrived in Rwanda last night, after 27 hours of traveling. Got a few hours sleep on the plane, ate a lot of bad food wrapped in too many layers of plastic, saw a couple of good movies “20 feet from Stardom” and “The Budapest Hotel”.

Damas, our RSF program coordinator was waiting for us at the Kigali airport. I received his generous and genuine 30 second hug. It felt both warm and calming, as he kept perfectly still, at ease with this level of intimacy. Ewen received a slightly shorter version of the hug. “Welcome to Rwanda!” Damas grinned.

We carried 200 lbs of supplies and had our small carry-on bags and backpacks. Damas stepped away to get us a taxi. Ewen and I were anticipating the arrival of a SUV-sized taxi. A small car pulled up instead. We looked at the small trunk. “Nakiboso” (no problem), said Damas, “you remember that word, don’t you Nancy?” “Oh yes, I replied,” I am happy to hear it so soon after I arrived.”

Settled into our hotel in Kigali for the night, we went downstairs to the outdoor restaurant where the Argentina vs. Netherlands soccer game was playing, while Ewen drank his first Primus beer, made in Gisenyi. He watched the remainder of the game in our room as I dozed off. After the 2nd extra time, and the score of 0/0, he turned the TV off. It was now past midnight. A few minutes later, Ewen mumbled something. “What’s that?” I asked, alway enjoying my conversations with Ewen that we have while he is sleeping. They usually have something to do with a boat. He spoke up, “Someone must have gotten a goal, I just heard a crowd of people roaring outside!”

Welcome to Rwanda.


Rwanda Days

We are so happy to say that we soon will be in Rwanda working and playing again with our wonderful friends and families there!
Here’s a sneak preview of what we plan to do:
Improve our new Mucyo preschool: Supply electricity & tons of school supplies, teach health education.
Repair two old cisterns at Rusamaza primary school with a donation from Rotary of Downtown Gainesville. Thank YOU! />Over 1,000 children will have daily access to clean water!
Give out new loans to families
Interview those who have received loans
Teach Gender Equity: get the men involved in the family businesses
Advance the Artisan cooperatives to new levels
And so on!
Many thanks to all of the very kind and generous people who make this all possible!
We hope to blog while we are there, so keep checking in!


2014 Brings Greatness

April 7, 2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. Keeping this event forever in our hearts and minds, it is a powerful reminder of why we are motivated and inspired to have this organization and positively contribute to the lives of Rwandans.

There has been some very exciting things happening in the life of Rwanda Sustainable Families (RSF)!

In 2014, particularly, we have begun widening our presence around Gainesville, FL.

Our longtime volunteer, Will, established a connection with the Downtown Farmer’s Market at Bo Diddley Plaza. Alongside other vendors, RSF has set up shop to promote our cause, and our artisan goods made in the Co-Op in Rwanda, are a huge success.

We have also had three successful events/fundraisers in the city. All of these events have been great promotion of our cause and have allowed us to keep our mission alive and strong!

Agbedidi Performance

Agbedidi Performance

On March 22nd we partnered with Mohamed da Costa, the director of the University of Florida Agbedidi African dance ensemble. They gave a spectacular african dance demonstration and performance.

On April 5, we partnered with the Downtown Gainesville Rotary Club and Applebee’s for the annual flap-jack fundraiser. Thanks to the funds from this event, we will be able to make another water cistern in Rwanda this summer.

Downtown Rotary Flap Jack Fundraiser

Downtown Rotary Flap JAck Fundraiser

The Downtown Rotary club also stepped into help us for our annual garage sale that took place on April 12. They contributed labor and many donations, and without them this event wouldn’t of been possible. The RSF garage sale, hosted by the amazing Dr. Joanna Peris and the UF Kappa Epsilon fraternity, generated over $1500.
RSF Garage Sale

RSF Garage Sale

This summer the U.S. RSF team plans on returning to Rwanda in July to complete many summer projects including: creating a new water cistern, making repairs on old structures, financing more micro-loans,interviewing micro-grant recipients and making adjustments to the program/support, and finding local markets for the co-op goods.

Thank you so much for your continued support! A special thank you to the Downtown Gainesville Rotary Club, Dr. Peris, KE, and of course our amazing RSF team. Stay tuned for more updated from our new blog.