Tag Archives: Kwita Izina

Africa Weeks for the Animals, Day 4: Habibu Names A Gorilla

Today we look back at the June 16th Kwita Izina Ceremony in which AoC sponsored Moise “Habibu” Habineza was given the honor of naming a gorilla. On this day, 19 mountain gorilla infants that were born in the wild since June 2011 were given Kinyarwandan names.
Habibu proceeds to the stage to name a baby gorilla at Rwanda’s Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony.

Turiho, an adult female and member of the Agashya group, had a baby on 7 August 2011. Habibu named this female baby, Iwacu – meaning ‘at home’.

Proud Habibu names his baby gorilla Iwacu.

Not only will this day remain unforgettable for Habibu and his family, the day also represents hope for the survival of the critically endangered mountain gorillas.

Habibu with musician Kidum.  Kwita Izina.  AoC 2012Habibu with musician Kidum.

Musician Kidum and his band mates performed on stage to a crowd of adoring fans during the naming ceremony. As if the day could not get any better for a teenage boy, Habibu spoke with Kidum during lunch.

Returning to his village, Habibu is surrounded by family and friends.

What a remarkable experience for Habibu! Thank you Volcanoes National Park and RDB for bestowing this honor upon him!

Art of Conservation joins Animal World USA-International in its 3rd Africa Weeks for the Animals. Throughout this celebration, we will be featuring an inside look at our conservation and health lessons taught in Rwanda by the AoC team focusing on the protection of the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Mountain gorilla habitat consists of two small areas in Africa- The Virunga Massif and Bwindi Impenetrable National Park. With only approximately 786 mountain gorillas left in the world, I hope you will agree that intense effort must continue to be made for this species survival. AoC’s role in gorilla protection involves working with rural communities which surround gorilla habitat. Please click here for more on AWUSA-International Africa Weeks.

Please consider supporting Art of Conservation today by clicking here. Thank you very much!

Sports for Gorillas – Airing Now on Musanze Community Radio

In celebration of Rwanda’s upcoming Kwita Izina events, here is a message in Kinyarwanda featuring Art of Conservation students and staff for the 3K Gorilla Fun Run & Ibirunga Children’s Tennis Tournament hosted by RDB in partnership with AoC.

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ANNOUNCEMENT! Ibirunga Children’s Tennis Tournament

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8th Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony

Ibirunga Children’s Tennis Tournament

Hosted by RDB in partnership with Art of Conservation

Celebrate Rwanda’s 8th Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony hosted by RDB by cheering on tennis players at Art of Conservation’s 3rd Annual Ibirunga Children’s Tennis Tournament!

On Sunday, June 10th, players from Musanze District’s Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club with compete against 5 players from Kigali to demonstrate their pledge to protect the critically endangered mountain gorilla and the park.

These children are committed to protecting the mountain gorillas by staying physically fit and healthy.  Watch them display exceptional teamwork and sportsmanship.

Please come by the courts to watch these exciting matches.  Matches begin in the morning around 8:30 and will end around 12:30.

Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s your commitment to uniting with others to protect Rwanda’s national treasure, the mountain gorilla and its natural habitat!

For more information, call Coach Tony at 078-855-1413.

ANNOUNCEMENT! 3K Gorilla Fun Run Road Race

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In Celebration of Rwanda’s 8th Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony

3K Gorilla Fun Run Road Race

Hosted by RDB in partnership with Art of Conservation

Date of event: 9 June 2012

Runners take your mark, get set, GO!

Celebrate Rwanda’s 8th Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony hosted by RDB  by running in Art of Conservation’s 3rd Annual 3K Gorilla Fun Run road race!

On Saturday, June 9th, 200 Art of Conservation students will run 3 kilometers to demonstrate their pledge to protect the critically endangered mountain gorilla and the park.

Children are the future stewards of Rwanda, and through AoC’s one-of-a-kind conservation and health education program, they discover and learn that mountain gorillas and the entire ecosystem are vital to safeguard for generations to come.  One of the ways that these children are committing to conservation right now is by staying healthy.  This means they are practicing good personal hygiene, eating a balanced diet, covering their mouths when they cough and sneeze so they don’t spread germs, and participating in plenty of fun sports activities, such as Kwita Izina’s events like this… the 3K Gorilla Fun Run!

This race is also open to the public!  That means you too can show your support towards the mountain gorillas by calling Olivier at 078-838-6062 and registering today!  We’ll give you that number again later.  You pay 5,000frw for the race entry fee and receive a t-shirt, face paint, and a race number.  But remember, you must register BEFORE the race.  You will NOT be able to register on the day of the race.

The race begins at Kinigi Town and ends at VNP’s Kinigi headquarters.  At 9:00 am, meet at Kinigi Field.  The race will begin at 9:30 am sharp!

Walk, skip, jog, or run… register to join the race or just cheer on the runners.

Remember, it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s your commitment to uniting with others to protect Rwanda’s national treasure, the mountain gorilla and its natural habitat!

Register today, call Olivier at 078-838-6062.

Studying Mountain Gorilla Habitat

By Innocent and Olivier

After making children aware of Earth’s seven continents and our blue planet’s most precious natural resource, water, we bring our student’s attention to the African continent. With colored pencils, they color in Rwanda, East African Community member countries, neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, and many other countries on their worksheets. Next, a mountain gorilla habitat map and information page is glued into their notebooks.

Mountain gorilla habitat map and other important facts are pasted into the children’s notebooks.

The AoC team is bound and determined to get these kids to fully understand that the only two locations on Earth where mountain gorillas live happen to be practically in their own backyards…. the closest to them being the chain of volcanoes we call the Virunga Massif and a bit further away in Uganda, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

Then we dissect the Virunga Massif to learn in which countries it is located. Ok, they’ve got it, the Virunga Massif is in Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. THEN, what does each of these three countries call their share of the Virunga Massif? Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Volcanoes National Park, and finally Virunga National Park! The approximate elevations of the volcanoes plus mountain gorilla census numbers is included.

Innocent.  Art of Conservation 2012Lively classroom discussions.

We thought it might help to see human population, Rwandan population, and mountain gorilla population written out in full on the chalkboard in order for us to express the extremes in figures. This big difference between human population to that of the mountain gorillas requires extreme teamwork for the survival of this critically endangered species.

We end our lesson with preparations for Rwanda’s 8th Annual Kwita Izina Gorilla Naming Ceremony; and as usual our students perform at Igitaramo, the community party, held on the eve of the gorilla naming ceremony. Students use papier mache masks that Eric and Eusebe make in our art studio for the performances. We’ll tell you more about the preparations soon.

Mountain Gorillas. Art of Conservation 2012Students are happy and exited to use gorilla masks and start learning choreography.

Stay in touch!

Heroes of the Forest Performed at 2011’s Igitaramo Party

At Rwanda’s recently held Igitaramo party, 100 Art of Conservation students performed to a song called Heroes of the Forest written and recorded by Courtney Kaiser and Benjamin Cartel. Holding papier mache animal masks made by Eric and Eusebe at the AoC art studio in Musanze Town, children danced and sang in front of their peers, parents, neighbors, tourists, and government officials. Igitaramo is held annually in Kinigi Town on the evening before Kwita Izina, a gorilla naming ceremony hosted by Rwanda Development Board.
Please click here to view our video of the children’s performance.

2nd Annual Children’s Tennis Tournament

This past Saturday in Musanze Town, Coach Tony’s tennis players put on a remarkable show of talent. The children’s camaraderie plus enthusiasm for the game of tennis was clearly apparent, too. By the time I got to the courts in the morning, kids were reapplying paint to the lines, sweeping and watering the clay courts, arranging rented chairs, and beginning their warm-ups. Olivier and I dashed to town to fill the truck with crates of water and bottles of beverages. The players’ parents were invited. Flyers were distributed inviting the community to come and watch.

2011-Children's Tennis Tournament, 11 june 2011, AoCEvartiste and Assumpta head off the court after talking with Coach Tony. Players are ready to begin their matches.

Habibu was last year’s boys champion and last weekend his fellow team mates had it out to beat him. Most days after school they were at the courts practicing in addition to Saturday and Sunday morning clinics. But guess what? Habibu pulled through becoming this year’s champion again! I love all of these kids finding it hard to see some loose their matches and witnessing their tears. Ah, such are life’s lessons.

Parents watch their children play tennis.  Rwanda AoC 2011Player’s parents and friends watched 12 exciting 1-set matches.

The day was beautiful. Rwanda is entering into dry season and a lingering thunderstorm staved off until the late afternoon.

John Bosco serving. AoC 2011Jean Bosco preparing to serve.

This event as well as the recent 3K Gorilla Fun Run and the upcoming performances at Igitaramo, are all children’s activities we organize leading up to Rwanda’s Annual Gorilla Naming ceremony and are registered activities at WED, the UN’s World Environment Day.

Champion Habibu with mom & dad. AoC 2011Champion Habibu with his parents.

Earlier in the week, Coach Tony and I put together prizes for all of the players. Tennis rackets, back packs, t-shirts, shorts, water bottles, chap stick, notepads, pencils, pens, children’s books, boots, jump ropes, and caps had been donated by Bunny Bruning and John Terpkosh from USPTA, USTA/NJTL, Peter Riger of the Houston Zoo, and our recent Simpson College volunteers. Our thanks goes out the them.

Girls champion Uwase with her mom, dad, and Coach Tony. AoC 2011Girl’s champion Uwase with her parents and Coach Tony.

Umpire Josephine with gorilla. AoC 2011The tournament’s umpire, Josephine, with a gorilla after the matches.

You can see more photos on AoC’s facebook page.

Art of Conservation manages the Ibirunga Tennis & Running Club, where the tournament was held and is providing the funding for the rehabilitation of the courts and the children’s weekend clinics, but at some point in the future Coach Tony will take it over.

The Race! Running For Gorillas

And they’re off!
200 children and a few independently registered runners begin AoC’s 2nd Annual 3K Gorilla Fun Run set in Kinigi Town. It’s a gradual uphill course ending at Rwanda’s Park and Tourism Office headquarters.

And they're off!  3K Gorilla Fun Run AoC 2011Runners take their mark and then off they go with excitement.

There are not road races in this area of Rwanda and as much as we talked about the race beforehand with our students in the classrooms, it was a new experience for all.

Go girls!  3K Gorilla Fun Run . AoC 2011Girls cross the finishing line.

Kids were told in advance that the top 10 girls and top 10 boys would receive prizes. AoC appreciates being able to use Volcanoes National Park headquarters as a place to end the race.

Almost home! 3K Gorilla Fun Run Art of Conservation 2011Innocent, with the microphone, cheers on runners approaching the finish line.

A Muzehe cheering.  AoC 2011Felix, a volunteer for the day, gets an observing man to join in the cheering.

Crossing the finishing line! Art of Conservation 2011A happy runner finishes the race. Bravo!

Find out who the winners are in our next blog!

Suiting Up for Gorilla Fun Run!

One by one students wait their turn to receive a t-shirt, a race number, and help pinning the race number on their shirt. At the closing of each lesson this week, this is what has occurred along with a discussion of Saturday morning’s happenings.

Olivier helps student put on t-shirt for 3K Gorilla Fun Run. AoC 2011Olivier helps a student with his t-shirt.

AoC’s 2nd Annual 3K Gorilla Fun Run will be held this Saturday, 4 June 2011. Starting line is in Kinigi Town. RDB headquarters is the finishing line. The top 10 girls and top 10 boys who are participating in AoC’s 2011 conservation and health education program will receive prizes. The top 3 male and top 3 female ‘public’ entrants will receive prizes, as well. All runners will enjoy soft drinks after the race.

2nd Annual 3K Gorilla Fun Run preparations at Rushubi.  Rwanda AoC 2011T-shirts and race numbers.

Our ‘very’ grassroots 3K event will hopefully spark interest in local community conservation and health education programs to a broader audience. We’ve registered this event along with other forthcoming events with WED (UN’s World Environment Day) and partnered with Rwanda’s Park and Tourism office.

Eric with students at Rushubi Primary School in Kinigi.  AoC 2011.Eric after helping kids prepare for Saturday’s race.

Last year’s run went without any problems, although we learned a few things or two. Sportsmanship is of key importance.

Very cute kids with new t-shirts and race numbers. AoC 2011.Very excited kids.

Excited AoC students for 3K Gorilla Fun Run.  AoC 2011More very excited kids.

Teacher-In-Training Jean Bosco at Nyange School.  AoC 2011.Jean Bosco, the children’s regular classroom teacher and AoC’s teacher-in-training, will help monitor Saturday’s race.

Please stay tuned here… we’ll let you know how the race goes!

This Saturday! 3K Gorilla Fun Run

flyer-AoC's 3K Gorilla Fun Run, 4 June 2011