While preparing for my photo presentation for BlissDom last week, I’ve began the laborious task of culling through tens of thousands of photos I don’t even remember taking over the past two years, when I stumbled upon a set taken in Rwanda when I visited back in 2010.
The beginning of my trip to Rwanda was a bit of a blur, as I flew in about 2am one morning and was immediately deposited into a car for the long, windy drive up to Ruhengeri to start my adventure-filled trip. After we visited with the gorillas, we continued a couple hours down the road to Volcanoes National Park.
We arrived at Iby’Iwacu—meaning “treasures of our home, our heritage”—to find our senses overwhelmed: The performers donned bright, bold (sometimes barely there) costumes, and there was a plethora of dancing, drumming and general merriment taking place all around us.
There are quite a few characters to keep an eye out for at Iby’Iwacu, the main being a 68-year-old pygmy man who could bust a serious move.
What, he doesn’t look particularly spry to you? Look closer.
He even showed us his best Beyonce.
Amid the dancing, we entered the king’s house, were enthroned and got to serve as leaders of the village for a brief while.
There was even a traditional medicine man on hand. Granted, he didn’t speak a word of English and sort of mumbled something that sounded like jibberish, but I enjoyed watching him do his thing—prepare the plants for his antidotes (which included herbal Viagra, I was later told)—nonetheless.
We also learned how to operate a bow and arrow (hard!) and proper drumming techniques (marginally easier if you’ve got a bit of rhythm).
Somewhere just inside the fence that confined the village, children (as well as some parents) collected to observe these crazy foreigners who’d come all this way to see the hootin’ and hollerin’.
What I loved about this attraction is that, while it may have been a bit touristy, the people who worked there summed up what I so loved about Rwanda: They were passionate, kind and sported the biggest grins you ever did see. A must-do if you’re passing through the region.