Hello, Valerie here. Another working weekend for Team AoC as we deliver a new class to the Ibirunga Tennis & Running kids. Topic of the day, conservation of the mountain gorilla habitat and more specifically an introduction to the alternative cooking fuel briquettes. After Innocent has engaged the kids into thoughtful and wonderful discussion, we head to Cecile’s Save The Forests Briquette Initiative workshop which is about a 15 minute drive from Musanze Town. Upon our arrival at Cecile’s, I notice the tennis kids become very excited and very curious about the process of making briquettes.
Pisi and I learn how to sift the sawdust that Cecile has collected from local carpenter shops and which is a major component of the briquette mixture – along with water and recycled paper.
Making briquettes is not done by just one person. It involves team work. To ensure that each child gets a chance to experience the different tasks, children work in a rotation. When someone is handling the PVC tube another is at the press handle and yet another must be ready to receive the pressed briquettes as they are ready to be pulled out of the tube. And while all of this is going on, someone is making the organic compost mixture ready!
Ndagijimana, Cecile’s son who participated in AoC’s education program last year, helps tennis player Evariste manage the PVC tube which contains the briquette mixture: water, recycled paper, and sawdust.
Ndagijimana has watched his mother, Cecile, make briquettes and now he has become an excellent briquetter. He’s fast, too. The tennis kids benefit from Ndagijimana’s expertise and instruction. For me, I am touched by seeing this process of children helping other children. And especially working together on things that are so important and beneficial to people and the environment.
Habibu, ranked number one on the Ibirunga Tennis Team, is happy to be making briquettes.
As all of us know when we try something new we may not always produce a perfect result at first. The children see for themselves that some of the briquettes they’ve made are too big or are too small or uneven or just not right. Innocent suggests corrections and encourages them to try some more. After all, we learn from our mistakes.
In this photo, Innocent critiques the new briquetters’ work. Are the briquettes the correct size? Are they made evenly?
The Musanze Town tennis kids are very happy to meet Ndagijimana. Now, they claim, they will strive to be as great of a briquetter as he is. They invite Ndagijimana to the tennis courts so that they can also teach him a new skill…. tennis!
It starts raining so some of the children run inside Cecile’s greenhouse and help her arrange her drying briquettes.