Literally the word ‘Aziz’ means a good life. Aziz Life is a charity organization whose vision is “to participate in local initiatives for the development of Rwandan communities working towards physical and spiritual wholeness for all. “They work with different women’s cooperative to help earn fair-wages by selling their crafts to help develop the different communities they live in, and provide an outlet for women to empower each other. This place is added on some of our Rwanda safari packages for travelers purely taking the Eco Tours in Rwanda and free to visit such communities.
The Aziz Life Experiences:
In addition to coordinating the sales of the women’s crafts, they have a social enterprise program called Aziz Life experiences. This program gives people visiting Rwanda the unique opportunity to connect and gain insight into the life of Rwandans who live in rural villages. They offer a range of different cultural experience in the form of full day or half day activities such as: traditional cooking classes, African dance and drumming, banana juice making, organized hikes, and the opportunity spend the day in the life of an artisan. Among the most memorable is engaging in the ‘Day in the life of an Artisan Experience’ which goes as below:
With participating in the ‘’Day in the life of an Artisan’’ you will firstly, of course, arrive at the Aziz Life headquarters in the town of Muhanga where you will be given a warm welcome by your guide. The guide will give you an overview (in terms of a briefing) of the cooperative you would be spending the day with.
Basically, all the cooperatives’ main aim and mission is to chase poverty and empower the girl child. The women here usually work together to sell their crafts. They have really formed a strong network of support to encourage one another in all aspects of their lives. Meanwhile, after learning a bit about the cooperative, you will drive over to meet the women at their homes.
When you arrive at the women’s home, you will of course be greeted with women singing and dancing to happily welcome you to their territory. All women here are so friendly and will always be very excited to host you. Firstly, they will be eager to know and learn about who you are, and of course where you will have come from – as in your citizenship.
After introducing yourself, you will immediately also get to learn more about each of the women and subsequently you will talk about many things from marriage, family planning, their families, and much more. After all that you will then get dressed for the day to help with the preparation of lunch. Rwandan women normally have their knees covered, so by all means they will provide you with wraps and head scarves.
Among the most popular foods for lunch that you will probably prepare include; beans with sweet potatoes and avocados, bananas, Irish potatoes, among others. Everything you will eat at lunch will be harvested from their gardens.
After having lunch, you will go out to the field to do some gardening. Here you will learn how to prepare the soil to plant some beans and corn. You will also learn how to harvest sweet potatoes, how to cut grass (by hand), and many more things.
Following the time spent out in the fields, you will as well learn how to do some basket weaving. The particular cooperative you will spend the day with works primarily on some specific things; for example the ‘’Twivane Mu Bukane’’ cooperative works mainly with banana leaves and uses them to weave baskets, bags, place mats, and bracelets. The banana leaf is a staple item in Rwanda, and you can find it almost everywhere in restaurants, houses, stores and various different settings for many different things.
Usually your day ends the same way it started; with singing and dancing, and of course you will never feel well leaving these amazing and industrious women. This experience is truly touching to spend time with these women.
Your guide will be helping you also in translating the Rwandan language ‘’Kinyarwanda’’ as some of the women here can’t speak English, so do not worry – with the aid of your Rwandan guide you will really get to engage into some really good conversations with them.
Though gorilla trekking in Volcanoes National Park, chimpanzee tracking in Nyungwe Forest National Park, and game viewing in Akagera National Park are the highlights of visiting Rwanda, never ever miss out this interesting ‘Aziz Life Experience’ as you will have missed much on your Rwanda trip…. surely a miss!!! Therefore, whenever you’re planning for a trip in Rwanda, remind your tour operator to include for you the amazing Aziz Life Experience as it will really sum up your Rwanda trip excessively well.