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Posts tagged ‘Rwandan Folk Tales’

Gato and Gakuru

Excerpt from The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales (as told by the children at ROP Center for Street Children.

Gato and Gakuru
by NSHINIYIMANA Jean Paul (Age 11)

There was once a husband and wife who had a daughter and a son. The daughter’s name was Gato and the son’s name was Gakuru. Their mother died and left them alone with their father.

One day, their father told both his children to go find some firewood and bring it back home. After they left to find firewood, Gato hid from her little brother Gakuru and went off to play with her friends. Gato’s friends gave her some extra firewood, which she brought home to her father.

When her father asked her where Gakuru had gone, she said, “He went to play with the girls.”

When Gakuru got home, his father asked him where he had been and why he only brought one piece of firewood. He told his father that he had been looking and looking, but this was all he could find. His father didn’t believe him and told him to go get their wood splitter. Gakuru went and got the wood splitter and handed it to his father.

His father told him to bend forward so he could look at his head, but the father took the axe and split open his son’s head.

After Gakuru’s father had split him into little pieces, he carried his body to the field and buried him in the ground near a papaya tree.

Not long afterwards, Gato went to pick some fruit from that papaya tree, but became afraid when she heard a voice saying, “You cheated and lied and now I am dead.”

She walked up to the tree again and heard it say, “Don’t pick from me. Because of you, I brought my father the axe and he took my life.”

Gato could not pick the fruit and ran home to tell her father about the talking tree.

Her father said, “Let me go with you. I have to hear this myself.”

When the father tried to pick the fruit it said the same thing, “Don’t pick from me. Because of you, I brought my father the axe and he took my life.”

The father told Gato to run to the house and bring back a shovel. Gato did as she weas told. When she returned, she and her father dug up Gakuru’s grave. The only thing left was a rib bone.

Gato and her father took Gakuru’s rib home, washed it and apologized for what they had done. In that instant, Gakuru returned to his original form.


Leave Some for Me

Excerpt from The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales

Leave Some for Me as told by NSHINIYIMANA Dativa (10 years old) at the ROP Center for Street Children (Rwandan Orphan’s Project)

There was a young couple that had a child called Imanway. The couple had a field of maize next to their home. When the father found the maize was ripe, he brought it to his wife who cooked a delicious meal.

Her husband said, “I am full. That was wonderful. It is so wonderful, I don’t want this feeling to go away. Maybe, if you wrap me in a mattress (a traditional mat made out of reeds), give me some more food and carry me to the forest, this feeling will remain.”

His wife and child wrapped him in a mattress and left him in the forest with his food.

It wasn’t long until an animal and her animal children came upon the man and his food.

“You are alone in the forest with all this food. I am going to get some of my friends to come eat the food you have,” said the animal. She told her children to stay with the man, but after she left, the man dropped his mattress and ran away with the food.

When the mother animal came back with her friends, she found that the human had run away. She asked her children, “Why did you let that man with the mattress and food go? Now we will have to eat you instead.”


Don’t Forget

Don’t Forget by NGARANBE Daniel (in photo), is an excerpt from The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales.

My life was in the streets and my bed in the dirt. My food was from dustbins. I used drugs to try to forget, but they didn’t help. I was a thief and would rob whoever passed my way. Then I found a new home and new parents at an orphanage called ROP Center for Street Children.

The man at ROP told me to come out from the street and join the other kids. They clothed me, treated me well, and helped me when I was sick. What touched me most was that they treated me just like any other kid. That is why I thank my new parents at ROP. Now I have a future. I am speaking English, Some French, and taking other courses.

I would ask the leaders of this nation, and all nations that are helping children, to keep doing what you can. Not because the children are your biological blood, but because they are people just like you.

Children are tomorrow’s wonder.

There are others in some families who are being misused for sexually immoral things and heavy work. Don’t forget all of those who are being wronged. They are looking to you, to anybody, wondering who will see them and reach out a hand.

Keep Barking

Keep Barking by Habyarimana Emmanuel is an excerpt from The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales. These stories were told by the children at the ROP Center for Street Children (Rwandan Orphan’s Project). A photo of each storyteller is included in the book.

There was a man who liked his dog very much. He would walk with his dog every day. One day, the man got sick and stayed home alone in his house. The dog watched over him.

After a few days, the dog went to the neighbors, stood near their doors, and started barking. It barked for so long the neighbors finally came to see what was happening. The dog kept barking and walked away. The neighbors followed the dog to its house and found the man who was sick. They took him to the clinic and he got better.

The man loved his dog more than ever. They went walking together every day again.


Rwanda’s Children

Rwanda has made incredible changes and strides in the last 17 years, since the 1994 genocide. Most people who lived in the country previously, would not recognize the advances now made in education, health care, the environment, reconciliation, security and work. They still have a lot to do and have not always had completely fair open elections, but what the government and people have accomplished after having to start from scratch (in just 16 years) is remarkable. A lot of people don’t realize it is also a beautiful country (landscape and people).

I’ve been to Rwanda twice and worked at an orphanage there called the ROP Center for Street Children, which provides shelter, food, water, education, vocational skills and health care to homeless children. There are now over 100 kids at the center (age 5 to 18). It is run entirely by Rwandans, with a sister organization in America called The Rwandan Orphans Project, which helps raise funds to keep the center going. They pay for the water, food, teachers, nurse, clothes, rent, utilities, transportation and some secondary and college costs for the children.

These children are the future of Rwanda, East Africa, the African continent and thus the world. Please consider making a donation to this non-profit organization, which started out taking in children who had been orphaned from the genocide. 100% of the money raised goes directly to the center in Kigali (the capital of Rwanda). The administrative costs by the Rwandan Orphans Project in the US are completely done on a volunteer basis. READ MORE

There is a book I put together from stories the children at the center told me. It is called The Skin of Lions: Rwandan Folk Tales. All of the royalties from its sale go to the Rwandan Orphan’s Project. TAKE A LOOK

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