Muraho! Hello! Greetings from Rwanda. My name is Rene, and I’m 10 years old, from the Eastern province of Rwanda, in Murehe. I live on a farm. I just came back from school – it was so fun today. We learned math and English, which are two of my favorite subjects. I am the second best student in my class! I always make sure I finish my homework and understand everything I am taught. I must study very hard at school, because one day I want to become a doctor. Then I can treat people who are sick.
Because my family lives on a farm, part of my chores is to carry water from the nearby spring to our house. We use this water for cooking, washing dishes, and drinking after it’s been boiled. I also feed our animals, and help my parents however I can.
My parents own a small plot of land for farming. My mom, dad, two sisters and I all work together on our farm to grow food and raise animals so that we can have food to eat and sell so we can pay for school, medicine, and other important things for our family. But we did not always have enough food to eat.
My family used to have a very hard time farming and raising animals. Many cassava farms, including ours, were ruined by parasites one year, and so we had very little food that year. I used to worry about whether our family would have enough to eat. I couldn’t concentrate at school, and I didn’t have the energy to play soccer with my friends or do my chores. It is easier to study now that I do not have to worry about being hungry. I’m happy now that I can eat three meals a day.
Things changed when our family started to participate in a program offered by a church to get training to help improve our farm. They learned how to take care of the soil for planting seeds, how to grow many varieties of food instead of just one kind so that we can be healthier, and they were also taught organic methods and how to protect the environment. With two cows that we received from the church, besides milk and meat, we learned how to use the manure from our cows to create biogas! So instead of chopping down trees and using so much wood for fire to cook, now we can use biogas instead.
We learned beekeeping too! The bees make honey which we can use to sell, and it’s tasty! And bees are important to the food cycle. Many good changes have been made. I am excited that my family and I are healthier, and my sisters and I can go to school to study hard. Life has really improved. My parents were actually picked to be model farmers to help train other farmers in our village. Because they learned so much and their farm is doing so well now, other people can come to them for help and learn how to protect the earth while farming. We hope no one will have to go hungry.
I am so proud of my parents, and feel very hopeful. It is nice to see everyone working together and sharing. My dad says they now have big plans ahead to sell more crops in the market – maybe one day even to Canada!