Experiencing Local Life at the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village in Rwanda

After trekking in the rainforest to spend time with the gorillas, we then went to visit the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village where we spent time learning all about the local life in the Rwanda countryside. It was a very interactive experience as we were given the opportunity to play drums, grind sorghum for banana beer, and test our archery skills. As we walked among the huts, our local guide explained to us all about daily lives of the people that have lived in this part of the country for hundreds of years.

Medicine Man
Drums Upon Our Arrival
Learning the Cultural History
Dramatic Dancing

From the moment that we entered the village, we were warmly greeted by the music of drums and the local villagers dancing in their authentic ceremony garments. The men wear dramatic blonde wigs, which they flip dramatically around as they dance making for quite the impression. We also had the opportunity to visit the king’s hut with its large bed and learned of the local traditions and rituals. Whether it was making banana beer, creating bee hives, or learning about the role of the medicine man, each hut that we visited was fascinating.

Sorghum to Grind
King’s Hut
Quite the Performance
Cultural Village

As with many villages that provide these types of cultural experiences, there is also the opportunity to buy handmade goods created by the villagers. The money goes towards the community, which is important as it encourages the local communities to embrace tourism and keeps them from poaching wildlife from the surrounding national park. Prior to tourists coming to Volcanoes National Park to trek to the gorillas, many of the villagers would trap gorillas to sell their hands as well as trap the mountain elephants and other animals to sell to people outside of the country. Rwanda has made great strides in reducing the number of poaching incidents and ensuring that the local people make enough money without needing to resort to trapping animals.

Bee Hive
Making Fire for Banana Beer
Wedding Ceremony Dance
Small Hut

Although spending time with the gorillas is clearly the highlight of going to Volcanoes National Park, visiting the Iby’Iwacu Cultural Village was certainly still a wonderful experience. Considering we did both the trekking and the village visit on our first full day in Rwanda, we were certainly off to a tremendous start to our time in this interesting country. We definitely slept very well that evening before getting up early to move on to our next adventure within Rwanda.

Another Cultural Lesson
Watching the Ceremonial Dancing
Greeting as We Arrived
Our Guide at the Cultural Village

Daily Post Photo Challenge – Dance

Several thoughts came to mind when we saw this particular photo challenge.  After some consideration, we ended up going back to a subject that we did a post on not that long ago, Native American dancers.  Obviously the photograph is from pre-digital days, so the quality is probably not what you’re used to for most of our posts, but that doesn’t make it any less poignant as far as we’re concerned.  Their dance combines nature, history, culture in a rhythmically mesmerizing swirl that is truly hypnotizing.



Daily Post Photo Challenge – Harmony

There are probably a lot of nature pictures we could have chosen to demonstrate a world in harmony, but instead we decided to share one of our concert photographs. We are avid music fans and go to a lot of concerts, but one of our favorites is the Van’s Warped Tour. We were watching a band called Breathe Carolina and they tossed out these large beach balls into the crowd. As you can see, everyone in the crowd had a wonderful time as they swayed in harmony with the band. It was one of those “feel good” moments that makes you happy inside.

Crowd Enjoying Breathe Carolina at the Warped Tour
Crowd Enjoying Breathe Carolina at the Warped Tour