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Reflections on Rwanda

FAQs and Requirements

WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT?

Over the years we have collected many of the questions and concerns sent to us about the program. We recognize that this is not an exhaustive list so please feel free to contact us by email if you have any further questions or concerns about our program. 

This program is not for everyone!

It is physically and emotionally demanding. Participants will view sites and hear stories that are disturbing. Therefore, we desire those who have an emotional maturity and can work well with others during difficult periods of time during the trip. It is also worth recognizing that since we will be traveling in a group, patience and kindness are important in order to maintain a positive group dynamic.

The program will be conducted in English, French and Kinyarwanda. Translation will be provided whenever possible. Knowledge of both French and English are therefore an asset, but not required.

 

RoR is not a vacation, nor is it a replacement for a touristic trip to Rwanda and the Great Lakes Region of Africa. Our program was deliberately designed and structured as an educational program to study genocide. It is also designed to keep costs as low as possible by dealing directly with our Rwandan partners. We stay in local accommodations and eat almost entirely in local restaurants. Therefore, participants should not expect tourist class accommodation or restaurants.

Rwanda is a beautiful country with world class tourist attractions and amenities. We encourage all and any interested applicants to consider extending their stay in the country if they wish.

 

PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

  • Be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate program, or have completed a post-secondary degree in the past 5 years.

  • Hold a current Canadian passport

    • If not, you are responsible for obtaining all necessary documentation for travel to Rwanda.

  • Sign an undertaking to abide by Shout's Charter of Values.

  • Sign a release of liability waiver prior to making their first deposit.

  • Acquire travel insurance for the entire duration of the trip.

  • Make themselves available for scheduled conference calls with program facilitators and all other participants prior to the program.

To participate in the program, applicants must fulfill the following criteria:


 

 

Please note that we will still consider applications from individuals who do not fall under one of these categories if a relevant explanation is provided to the selection committee. 

HOW DO RWANDANS FEEL ABOUT RoR?

 

Rwandans have been very supportive of the program. We have met with a cross-section of individuals from many areas of the country and were given the same positive responses.

 

We specifically asked many survivors how they felt about this program, and we were told repeatedly that we were very welcome. When we asked one survivor how she felt about Canadians going to Rwanda to visit relevant sites and learn about the country’s troubled past, she responded:

“If you could bring every Canadian student, they would all be welcome.”

IS IT SAFE?

Ultimately, the choice to travel there has to be yours.

If you followed the election in the Western media, you most certainly would have seen allegations of anti-democratic practices carried out by the present government. We note this not to scare you but so you are aware of the situation on the ground. We work closely with our local Rwandan partners throughout the year and continuously monitor the security situation.

 

Regardless of the destination, any travel comes with certain risks. Rwanda has had a tumultuous past, and is situated in a region where its bordering countries have had recent violence (DRC, Burundi).

 

With that said, however, Rwandans are quick to tell you that their country is one of the safest for travel, and from our experience, we believe this to be true. The streets are secure, the government is stable, and crime is nearly non-existent. Mostly anyone who has visited the country will say something similar: Rwanda is safe.

WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT ISN'T FOR EVERYONE

I mean I’ve backpacked in Europe and been to Latin America, but I’m not sure what to expect in sub-Saharan Africa.

 

If we are driving from Kigali to Gisenyi (a resort town on Lake Kivu) and the mini bus breaks down or gets a flat tire, CAA isn’t going to be there in 45 minutes, and there won’t be a 7-11 around the corner to buy a snack while you wait. We might be stuck on the side of the road exposed to the elements for several hours.

 

If we are in a more remote area than Gisenyi, our broken down mini bus might become a tourist attraction for the locals. Children may touch you, inspect your straight hair and adults might talk about you. This could either be fun or terrifying depending on how you approach the situation.

 

Our accommodation is always adequate, but do not be surprised if you have a few cold bucket showers and spend a few evenings without electricity. Internet access is still sporadic and roughly equivalent to dial-up speed (although this might improve by the time we arrive). However, your guides will be equipped with cell phones at all times in the event that anyone needs to reach you or we need to reach anyone.


In terms of food, most Westerners enjoy the taste of Rwandan food, but traveler’s diarrhea is not uncommon. Also, while you will be fed three meals a day, we cannot guarantee that you will be eating consistently at 8:00, 12:00 and 17:00 every day. This doesn’t need to be a problem, but it can be. You have to know yourself. If you know that you get hungry often, bring snacks.

A bucket shower involves being given a bucket with water in it – how you turn this into a shower is up to you.

None of this is meant to scare you. We believe that anyone, no matter how much (or how little) they have travelled, is capable of participating, so long as they remain flexible and are prepared to place some of their “kitty-comforts” on hold for two weeks.

 

We will be there, along with our local partners, to guide you along the way and to facilitate the experience.

 

If you’re not sure if this program is for you, e-mail us at reflectionsonrwanda@gmail.com and we will be happy to address any concerns.

How much will it cost me?

Depending on a number of factors and personal circumstances of each participant, including the cost of vaccinations, your location, and confirmation of dates/flights, participants can expect to pay $2,100-$5,570 CAD. This cost includes flights, accommodation, food, and on-the-ground expenses for the length of the program. The program offers excellent value for money. Know that SHOUT Canada makes no profit. All of your money goes directly to program costs.

 
Because the program is grassroots in nature, we do everything we can to keep costs as low as possible. 

Below is a breakdown of program costs based on figures from previous years:

  • Flight from home location to Toronto/Montreal: $0-1,000 CAD. This is paid directly by each participant once program dates are finalized. We meet and depart Canada together from Pearson International Airport or Trudeau International Airport. The cost will vary depending on your geographical location.

  • Flight from Canada to Kigali: $1,000-2,000 CAD* (estimated cost based on previous years). This is paid and booked directly by participants once program dates are finalized (*if you have enough travel points to cover the flight - in part or full - this cost could potentially be reduced significantly or entirely).

  • Travel Insurance: $50-$100 CAD depending on selected coverage and insurer. This is paid directly by each participant and is a program requirement. If you are a university student, check with your university to see whether your student health plan covers travel insurance.

  • Vaccinations/Malaria prophylaxis: $0-$400 CAD (optional, recommended). Paid directly by each participant. This cost is estimated and will vary depending on your history of international travel, booster schedule, and personal health decisions. Check to see what vaccinations you already have and what is covered by your insurance. Rwanda is a malaria endemic zone. Talk to a medical professional about recommendations for malaria prevention. 

  • Visa: $50 USD (approximately $60-70 CAD). Required for Canadian citizens. Obtained upon arrival in Kigali.

  • Program Fee: $500 CAD + $1,100 USD (roughly $2,000 CAD total).This covers on-the-ground expenses to run the program: food, accommodation, transportation, entrance fees, other incidentals. An initial deposit ($500 CAD) is paid before we leave Canada. The balance ($1,100 USD) is paid to program leaders on arrival in Kigali.

  • TOTAL: $2,110 - 5,570 CAD

 

How do I go about fundraising?

The RoR team will work with participants to create individual financial plans. We welcome anyone concerned about finances to contact us to talk about the matter.

  • Because RoR is an educational program, there is a possibility that your university may have some funding to help you. Educational institutions often have a budget for overseas internships or educational field trips. Contact your department, Student Union or Financial Aid office to inquire.

  • Once you put your cause out there, many people will be willing to support you. Think about a pub night at your local pub, a garage sale, a bake sale, a donation jar, a GoFundMe.com account, a dinner party for your friends and family. Get creative!

  • Look into non-governmental organizations, particularly those involved in genocide education. Though they may not be able to provide you with funding, they may have suggestions on where to look for funding.

Interested in joining us for RoR 2023?

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