Applebum in Rwanda - Nicola's Photo Diary

We recently announced our partnership with the incredible charity IndiGo volunteers. Being part of the Applebum family I had heard about co-founder Jordan and long standing AB friend, Tas'  experiences in Rwanda and Greece. I felt inspired to use some time off I was luckily given to volunteer somewhere I'd always wanted to go; Rwanda. I had heard of IndiGo through Tas and got straight in touch with her. Within a week I found the right volunteer program, booked my flight, got my jabs and arranged a two week visit to Urukundo Foundation and Learning Centre. All my thanks goes to the IndiGo team for such a quick turnaround. The following is a photo diary of my time at Urukundo detailing some of the stories behind these beautiful smiles. 

 One thing I didn't expect was how green Rwanda is, every inch is cultivated to grow fruit and vegetables, in this case banana's and green beans. 

One thing I didn't expect was how green Rwanda is, every inch is cultivated to grow fruit and vegetables, in this case banana's and green beans. 

 'Pull your ugliest face kids' - and so they did! Kinella, Kaboss and Rebecca (the three worst faces!) are all kids who live at Urukundo and the others all go to school Urukundo Learning Centre. This was my first day having only just met some of these kids and as soon as the camera came out I was Miss popular. They loved seeing how silly they looked on screen!

'Pull your ugliest face kids' - and so they did! Kinella, Kaboss and Rebecca (the three worst faces!) are all kids who live at Urukundo and the others all go to school Urukundo Learning Centre. This was my first day having only just met some of these kids and as soon as the camera came out I was Miss popular. They loved seeing how silly they looked on screen!

 Little Claude, Agide, Levine and Sarah proudly showing off their pom poms.   I'd heard that the kids don't get to do much in the way of arts and crafts and seeing as wool is so light in weight I could take an abundance over and teach them how to make pom poms...

Little Claude, Agide, Levine and Sarah proudly showing off their pom poms. 

I'd heard that the kids don't get to do much in the way of arts and crafts and seeing as wool is so light in weight I could take an abundance over and teach them how to make pom poms...

 ...and the leftover wool certainly kept them quiet! This is Aline, the oldest that still lives at Urukundo making me a bracelet along with John, Lucky and Issiah. The wonderful Jeannie on the right is another one of the volunteers.

...and the leftover wool certainly kept them quiet! This is Aline, the oldest that still lives at Urukundo making me a bracelet along with John, Lucky and Issiah. The wonderful Jeannie on the right is another one of the volunteers.

 Little Claude stole my heart. We went on a walk around the local area and he insisted on carrying my bag the whole way and wearing my sunglasses, they really suited him! There was a big group of us but I spent most of the walk with him - he's a very well spoken boy, he really understands English and enunciates everything. It's harder for him to read and write unfortunately so I spent some quality time with him practicing which he found difficult - then I realised he's extremely talented at drawing and had more of a creative brain than academic.  The following week I found some notepads with colouring pencils and 5 hours later we had 10 drawings between us and only 2 of which were mine!  Little Claude came from a very hostile environment, he ended up with a family who didn't want him and turned up beaten, bruised and full of scars. He is now the happiest little boy with a dream of being a scientist. 

Little Claude stole my heart. We went on a walk around the local area and he insisted on carrying my bag the whole way and wearing my sunglasses, they really suited him! There was a big group of us but I spent most of the walk with him - he's a very well spoken boy, he really understands English and enunciates everything. It's harder for him to read and write unfortunately so I spent some quality time with him practicing which he found difficult - then I realised he's extremely talented at drawing and had more of a creative brain than academic.  The following week I found some notepads with colouring pencils and 5 hours later we had 10 drawings between us and only 2 of which were mine!

Little Claude came from a very hostile environment, he ended up with a family who didn't want him and turned up beaten, bruised and full of scars. He is now the happiest little boy with a dream of being a scientist. 

 A few of the volunteers went for a walk to the local town and although it was great to see the local area for the first time, it did highlight the poverty around. It made me realise that the kids who lived at Urukundo in some ways were lucky to have the food and clothes they have because other kids in the area didn't have very much at all. 

A few of the volunteers went for a walk to the local town and although it was great to see the local area for the first time, it did highlight the poverty around. It made me realise that the kids who lived at Urukundo in some ways were lucky to have the food and clothes they have because other kids in the area didn't have very much at all. 

 Agide, Little Claude, John, Yves, Levine and Sarah looking like the greatest band!

Agide, Little Claude, John, Yves, Levine and Sarah looking like the greatest band!

 Rebecca looking like butter wouldn't melt!  This fiery little girl was found at 4 months old and in need of a home. She's extremely intelligent and first to finish in class, she's loud, has a pout like no other and claims to have 7 boyfriends but Darcie was her favourite one. She is one of a kind!

Rebecca looking like butter wouldn't melt!

This fiery little girl was found at 4 months old and in need of a home. She's extremely intelligent and first to finish in class, she's loud, has a pout like no other and claims to have 7 boyfriends but Darcie was her favourite one. She is one of a kind!

 It was a challenge to get all of the kids together but eventually managed it on my last day!

It was a challenge to get all of the kids together but eventually managed it on my last day!

 Last but not least my favourite little boy Kaboss.  It's frightening how close you can get to these kids and how strong the bonds are after only a couple of weeks. Kaboss' head was always in a book, his english was so ahead of his age and was patient, polite and hilariously odd. We spent time reading in the library, studying for exams, playing with Instagram filters, drawing and lots of dinner time chats. Saying goodbye to him was hard, as it was with all the kids, however there is a way of staying connected to him; sponsorship. It's not much of a yearly amount but it goes toward Kaboss' education and means a lot to Urukundo as a whole.   For more information on how you can volunteer please get in touch with  IndiGo Volunteers

Last but not least my favourite little boy Kaboss.

It's frightening how close you can get to these kids and how strong the bonds are after only a couple of weeks. Kaboss' head was always in a book, his english was so ahead of his age and was patient, polite and hilariously odd. We spent time reading in the library, studying for exams, playing with Instagram filters, drawing and lots of dinner time chats. Saying goodbye to him was hard, as it was with all the kids, however there is a way of staying connected to him; sponsorship. It's not much of a yearly amount but it goes toward Kaboss' education and means a lot to Urukundo as a whole. 

For more information on how you can volunteer please get in touch with IndiGo Volunteers

Nicola Hedden
Posted on November 20, 2017 and filed under News.