Stepping into Rwandan Culture
Week 1 Heading link
Paolina Guerrier, MS Student
One of the fun activities I could experience in cultural immersion was taking a cooking class at the Nyamirambo Women’s Center. The center was founded in 2007 by 18 women who wanted a safe space for disadvantaged women. This center provides free education and training for empowerment and the opportunity to improve their quality of life. The center has become an integral part of the community by offering these services and has opened a small free library in Kinyarwanda, English, and French in 2014 for the children in the community to have access to expanding their minds. They also have a gift shop with crafts, bags, and clothing created by the local women, and funds from patrons go to the women and back into the community.
Aminatha hosted the cooking class, a woman born in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and migrated with her children to Rwanda in 1998 due to war back home. She worked as a domestic worker before quitting in 2008 and joining the Women’s Center.
My group and I learned to cook a mixture of dishes that are traditional to Rwandan culture. We learned to cut and peel plantains, clean and separate Dodo (Amaranth), peel Ibirayi (Irish potatoes) and sweet potatoes, chop onions, and throw different ingredients into full dishes. The experience was fun because we learned more about the nearby communities’ local culture and worked together to create delicious dishes. At the end of our lesson, we were given a cookbook to recreate these dishes, and I am looking forward to doing so and sharing them with my family back home.
Paolina Guerrier is currently a second-year student of the Graduate-Entry Nursing Program, with a previous Bachelor’s in Psychology from DePaul University. Future plans include either becoming a Family Nurse Practitioner or Midwife (possibly both) and expanding care to women and children globally.