Last wednesday marked the 30th anniversary of Bob Marley’s death. So for the radio, I pitched that we cover a story about the influence he had on the people of Rwanda. It turned out to be one of my favourite stories I’ve ever covered.
The driver for the radio took Theos and I to a little Rastafarian village area called ‘One Love.’ As soon as we drove into the complex it was like entering a different world. It was very green, there were trees everywhere, it was very quiet and peaceful ( even though we were in the middle of the city) and the place was huge. There was a little river running around it and thatched huts all around.
When we got into the complex it was obvious that we had entered into the world of Rastafarians. There were a couple of people wandering around and everyone had dread locks and a bob marley t-shirt.
We talked to a couple of the guys and they even sang us a little bit of ‘One Love.’ They were very cool and very welcoming.
After we spoke with them, we went to meet the leader of the pack - Ras Gatera Rudasingwa. He was sitting at one of the tables in their restaurant area. This man is the epitomy of cool! He is probably in his mid 50s, he has long dreads, and he was very relaxed when we met him.
He invited us to sit down with him and he apologized for his poor english, though it was actually pretty strong.
This man has started the rastafarian community here in Kigali and he has also started an NGO that’s run by the community. It’s called the Multilindi Japan One Love Project. He explains that after the genocide there was so many people who were left severely handicapped. This NGO works to help these people. They make and provide artificial limbs and wheelchairs, train orthopedic technicians, and provide rehabilitation to those who are handicapped. And everything is free of charge.
I enjoyed my time with Gatera so much! And because it was Bob Marley’s birthday they were having a concert and a party that night so he invited me to come. It would cost 3000francs to get in and he told me that all proceeds were going to the victims of the Tsunami in Japan.
Later that night, a whole group of us went back to the village area for the party. And it was such a cool party!!! Everyone who I met during the day came up and said hello to me. And Gatera got me a drink and invited me to sit with him. The area was full of rastafarians, they had a huge bonfire in the middle, everyone was dancing, and there was a big concert inside one of the huts. It was such a nice feeling being there.
Everyone was really cool. And this NGO is such an amazing organization. I’m definitely going to try to go back and visit before I leave Rwanda!