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What Do You Think?
Monday, 24 October 2011 Written by Claudine Uwimbabazi

Claudine UwimbabaziI am Claudine Uwimbabazi, a former student from the Brick-Building section at Father Vjeko Training Center, now a teacher trainee. When I was a student, we had been forty-three students in second year building. I was the one girl among forty-two boys. In August I was told by our headmaster that I was to go with some of our eighteen students who were being sent to Uganda for more experience.

We reached Uganda on September 1st. When we arrived there, it was strange for the Ugandans to see me among the boys, and I became almost embarrassed for being a builder, because they were making fun of me for being a girl – saying, women are not supposed to be builders. I think that it is in their culture... but we have to control our culture. Before, even at home in Rwanda, it was like that, but slowly, slowly it is changing... especially at our school where they are trying to empower women.

So on September 2nd , we started building. It was funny - the ones who had made remarks before, and even the people who were passing by had to stop and watch what I was doing. Of course they are not used to seeing this! They were not even willing to recognize that my work was as good as the work of the boys. But I think they changed their minds... or slowly they will learn!

While in Uganda we worked with twelve guys from Ireland - seven builders and five builders’ helpers. It was a good opportunity for us because I am telling you, we learned a lot - those Europeans are doing a good job! They work quickly; they are organized at their work and they don’t waste any time. We almost forgot that we were in Uganda, but rather it seemed that we were in Europe because we worked so well and at great speed.

We spent those few weeks there, and then we returned to our Father Vjeko Training Centre, where we now intend to put into practice what we learned in Uganda from those Irishmen. All of us returned home safely. We thank St Francis Family Helper Programme in Uganda for inviting us and for CFJ Padri Vjeko School for sending us.

Edited by: Valerie Kae Ken

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