Tuesday, 8 December 2009

50 Christmas Trees in a Church - Miracle in Kigali

Here is a picture of Illuminee with our Miracle in Kigali tree at Dickleburgh's 50 Christmas Trees in a Church, http://www.50christmastrees.com/. The small Rwandan baskets and other colourful decorations are courtesy of the Rwandan Embassy UK.

Monday, 7 December 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day at The Forum, Norwich

Illuminee and I have been invited to speak at a Holocaust Memorial Day event at The Millennium Library, The Forum, Norwich, 6pm on Wednesday 27 January.


Friday, 4 December 2009

Dickleburgh 50 Christmas Trees in a Church

All ready for Dickleburgh's 50 Christmas Trees in a Church, Saturday 5 December to Sunday 13 December http://www.50christmastrees.com. The Miracle in Kigali tree will be decorated with very Rwandan peace baskets and other colourful decorations.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Rwandan Crafts

We are visiting the Rwandan Embassy on Tuesday to discuss the opportunities to sell Rwandan crafts in the UK and also collect items to display on our tree at 50 Christmas Trees in a Church, Dickleburgh http://www.50christmastrees.com.

Monday, 16 November 2009

50 Christmas Trees in a Church 2009

Working with the Rwandan Embassy UK for a cultural display to go with our tree at this year's 50 Christmas Trees in a Church, Dickleburgh http://www.50christmastrees.com/.

The official opening is by Anna Mudeka, http://www.tambai.org.uk, Norfolk-based Zimbabwean singer, drummer and dancer, with her drumming group Drumskin, on Saturday 5 December at 5.30pm. The event then runs from 6 to 13 December inclusive .

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Miracle in Kigali Talk Norfolk Black History Month 31 October

Illuminee and Paul will be talking about Miracle in Kigali, the visit to Rwanda in 2008 to launch the book and will also be doing readings in a special Norfolk Black History Month event at The Cube (next to Pizza Express), The Forum, Norwich on Saturday 31 October from 11am to 12pm.
For more information email Paul @ paul-dickson@btconnect.com.

Norfolk Black History Month African Market

We will be selling Miracle in Kigali at The Norfolk Black History Month African Market outside Chapelfield, Norwich on Sunday 25 August 9.30am to 5pm. http://www.norfolkblackhistorymonth.org.uk

Monday, 17 August 2009

Meeting with Gerard Sina

Illuminee went to Rwanda in July and met Gerard Sina, the man behind Akabanga chilli sauce and other products that we will want to sell in the UK business. This is his business website http://www.sina.co.rw. He is an inspirational Rwandan entrepreneur.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Rwandans in UK

Just visited this website http://www.rwandansinuk.com/. It features a video of President Kagame at 10 Downing Street.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

The Big Skill Awards Norfolk 2009 - Awards Ceremony

Congratulations to Illuminee who was highly commended in the adult learner category at the Big Skill Awards Norfolk staged at The Forum in Norwich on the evening of Monday, June 8. She received her certificate from BBC TV's Ray Stubbs and BBC Radio Norfolk's Nicky Price.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

The Big Skill Awards Norfolk 2009

Illuminee is shortlisted in The Big Skill Awards Norfolk 2009, adult learner category. The awards ceremony is outside The Forum, Norwich on Monday 8 June at 6.30pm http://www.alivecom.co.uk/events.asp?eventID=41.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Meeting with Ignatius Mugabo

We had a very good meeting on Tuesday 5 May with Ignatius Mugabo, Chairman of the Rwandese Community UK during which we had an initial discussion about working together on a biography of Gerard Sina.

Gerard Sina is an inspirational Rwandan entrepreneur who is providing education, training and work for his local community in Nyirangarama. This is is website http://www.sina.co.rw/.

We also went to Deptford to meet Tony Ojorio. He imports primarily green bananas and chillies from Uganda. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the possibility of getting supplies to sell in the Norwich area.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Another Research Trip to London - Tuesday 5 May

We have arranged to meet Tony Ojorio on Tuesday 5 May in London. He imports Ugandan food products - good research for Illuminee's business.

We will also meet Ignatius Mugabo, Chairman of the Rwandese Community UK for a first meeting about the possibility of a book about Sine Gerard, the producer of akabanga chilli sauce and many other items in Rwanda. This man is an inspirational Rwandese entrepreneur.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

African Food Research

We went to London on Wednesday 15 April to research Ugandan food importers for Illuminee's business, with help from the Rwandan Embassy. We also had lunch at a very good Ugandan Restaurant in Hackney http://www.excelinecatering.co.uk/.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

New Times Report - Rwandan Genocide Commemoration London

The New Times, Kigali included a report on the Rwandan Genocide Commemoration held in London on 8 April. The news item included a summary of the key points of Illuminee's testimonial. Click this link read the report http://www.newtimes.co.rw/index.php?issue=13862&article=14865.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Evening News - Business in a Box

In February, Illuminee entered a Norwich Evening News business competition called 'Business in a Box'. She did not win, but her business story was picked to be included in a feature about the competition. Click her to read the feature.

Henry in Rwanda posts comments about Miracle in Kigali

We spotted a blog today via Google Alerts from a student called Henry who is in Rwanda. He had some very positive comments about Miracle in Kigali. Have a look at is entry on 8 April,

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Rwandan Genocide Commemoration - London 7 April

Illuminee gave testimony as a survivor at the London Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda on Tuesday 7 April. Her speech is in the previous entry on this blog. The Commemoration was organised by the Rwandan Embassy http://www.ambarwanda.org.uk/ and also included speeches from the Rwandan Ambassador, His Excellency Claver Gatete, Brigadier General Frank Rusagra and Nemat Shafik, Permanent Secretary of the Department of International Development (DFID).

Fifteen candles were lit by young Rwandans living in the UK, a symbolic representation of each year of peace in Rwanda since 1994.

A documentary by Nick Hughes called Roadblock was shown featuring footage of people being killed at a roadblock, taken by Mr Hughes during the Genocide, and the stories of those who survived the roadblock. More information about the film here

Ambassador Gatete launched 'The One Dollar Diaspora Campaign' in support of Genocide orphans in Rwanda, aiming to raise $200,000 in the next 100 days - the length of the Genocide in 1994.

Illuminee is pictured with Brigadier General Rusagra at the reception which followed the Commemoration.

Monday, 6 April 2009

Illuminee's Speech Rwandan Genocide Commemoration

This is the speech that Illuminee is making at the Rwandan Genocide Commemoration in London on Tuesday 7 April.

Your excellency Ambassador Claver Gatete, ladies and gentlemen.

It is 15 years since the Genocide. It sounds a long time ago, but for survivors it can seem as if it was just yesterday. What I mean is that our wounds and scars are still with us. If anything touches those scars it hurts. It reminds us of our experiences in 1994.

I was brought up in Gacuriro Kigali, and married my husband John on April 3 1994. We were living in Nyakabanda. I lost John on May 10, just a few days after our son Roger was born. I like many Rwandans also lost members of my family and close friends.

All survivors have different stories to tell. It was a miracle, that my son and me survived in the chaos of Kigali. I was helped by Rwandans with a kind heart who hated the bloodshed.

I even joined the exodus to Zaire, and possible death from cholera in a refugee camp and was lucky to be turned back on Mont Kigali by the RPF. Those RPF soldiers who appeared out of the early morning mist on Mont Kigali will be my heroes for the rest of my life.

I moved to England in 1996 and live in Norwich with my son Roger. I would not be here, now, if it had not been for the help of many NHS doctors and nurses, who helped me through troubled times, along with the support of my family and friends.

I chose to expose myself, to be naked, in a way, and told my story in the book, Miracle in Kigali. I would like to thank my co-author Paul Dickson, and The Tagman Press for making my dream come true. I would also like to thank Ambassador Gatete for his support.

But why did I want to open myself up in this way?

It was first of all medication to help myself get better, to see if I could be healed.

Secondly it was to help ensure that what happened cannot happen again.

Thirdly to give the message of hope for the future especially the next generation of Rwandans.

A lot, has happened to Rwanda and Rwandans, in the last 15 years. For we survivors it is a long journey. We try to forgive but we will never forget. We will never be the same again, but we can keep going. We will not turn the clock back, but we can look forward.

My message to survivors is to take our time, appreciate our lives and not to be ashamed about the past, and what happened to us in 1994. It was not our fault. Try to work for a better life for you, your children and their children.

Some people say that there was no Genocide and keep saying it. But my story and me are living testimonies to the fact that the Genocide took place in 1994.

I red in the New Times that survivors have been killed who testified at a Gacaca court and that people have attacked the Gisosi memorial.

These people who do these things may think that they still have power, but they need to face their own demons, and then they can meet the angel.

Finally, my message to all Rwandan, survivors, at this difficult time of year – try to care and love yourself, be strong, have hope and move forward in your life.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

DFID Fighting Poverty Website

The Department for International Development has created a website to mark 15 years of UK support in Rwanda since the Genocide

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Rwandan Genocide Commemoration - UK

Illuminee has been asked to speak at the Commemoration of the 15th Anniversary of the 1994 Genocide, organised by the Embassy of the republic of Rwanda UK. The commemoration is being held at the Royal Horseguard Hotel, Whitehall Court, London at 3pm on Tuesday 7 April.

Wednesday, 18 March 2009

NWES Business Planning Course

We have just finished the NWES Business Planning Course - highly recommended. It has inspired us to go to London to research Ugandan produce, as well as working with our Rwandan contacts. We also need to research opportunities to attend shows and events in Norfolk.

Friday, 13 March 2009

Celebrating 15 Years of Peace in Rwanda

The Rwandese Community UK is staging a big event in London this weekend to mark 15 years of peace in Rwanda featuring performances by Ihanika from Brussels and Canadian based singer JP Samputu. The event beginning at 8pm on Saturday 14 March is at River of Life Centre Hatcham Road, London SE15 1TW .

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

NWES Business Planning Course

Illuminee and I are just about to start a business planning course with NWES in Norwich, to help develop our ideas for selling African and Rwandan produce in Norfolk.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

EDP Inspirational Women

Illuminee was featured on Tuesday 17 February in an Eastern Daily Press series on inspirational Norfolk women www.edp24.co.uk.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Father Christmas at Fairhaven December 2008

We helped out Father Christmas on his annual visit to Fairhaven Woodland and Water Garden, http://www.fairhavengarden.co.uk in December 2008, working as elves in his magical grotto. The photograph shows Roger, Father Christmas, Illuminee and Paul in the grotto.

50 Christmas Trees in a Church 2008

The Miracle in Kigali tree was present for the second year at Dickleburgh's 50 Christmas Trees in a Church http://www.50christmastrees.co.uk/ in early December. Here is a photograph of Illuminee in front of the tree.

Friday, 30 January 2009

Rotary Conference 11 October 2008

We spoke at the Eastern Region Rotary Conference staged at Holiday Inn North, Norwich on Saturday 11 October. This was our biggest audience to date and we were delighted with the response. Lots of Rotarians talked to us in the exhibition area during the lunch break and also bought books.

This is a link to the Rotary report on the conference. http://www.rotary-ribi.org/districts/committee.asp?DistCtteeID=339&DistrictNo=1080

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Rwandan Expo London August 2008

This is a photograph of Ignatius Mugabo (left), Chairman of the Rwandese Community UK at the Sina Gerard stand during the London Expo. The small bottles are full of Akabanga a superb hot chili sauce - two or three drops is all you need!

Rwandan Expo London August 2008

We visited a Rwandan Expo in London on 22 August 2008.
Illuminee is pictured here with the Rwandan Ambassador, His Excellency Claver Gatete. The Expo was organised by Rwandan Diaspora Investment www.investinrwanda.co.uk. We are planning to buy Rwandan goods for sale in Norwich via RDI.

Banana Wine Co-operative

During our fortnight in Rwanda in July 2008, we also visited a
co-operative making banana wine, pineapple wine and fruit jam.
The co-operative was also planning to begin dried fruit production.
Illuminee and I are hoping to start selling Rwandan food products in Norwich and it was to good to meet some local producers.

Stephen and family Giseyni

This is a photograph of Stephen (second left) and his brothers and sisters
outside their new house above Lake Kivu, Giseyni. They are supported
by Passevu a local charity for orphans and street children in Rwanda,
Burundi, Eastern Congo and Uganda. For more information about Passevu contact Andre Njack anjans1@yahoo.fr.

Money for their new house came from a raffle at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations PRide Awards East Anglia dinner 2007 and fundraising at Glynis Potter's Harambe shop in Hadleigh and Felixstowe. Illuminee cooked a served a Rwandan-style soup at a fundraising event in Hadleigh.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Lake Kivu Giseyni

We visited Giseyni in the north of Rwanda to meet Stephen and his family, a group of young orphans who live just outside the town. We helped raise money to build a house for the family.
This photograph was taken on the shore of the beautiful Lake Kivu, Giseyni; left to right, Rebecca (Paul's daughter), Patrick (Illuminee's nephew), Illuminee and Roger.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Gisozi Genocide Memorial, Kigali

While we were in Kigali, we visited the Gisozi Genocide Memorial. Thousands of Genocide victims are buried here. The main building features a powerful exhibition about the Genocide and its origins. While we were there, Roger was able to add a photograph of his father, John, to the display of photographs of Rwandans killed in 1994.

Friday, 23 January 2009


This is a view of Kigali taken from just below Hotel Mille Collines looking across to the US Embassy (large building on left) and several government buildings. Illuminee's brother Eustache and his family live in the valley in the foreground.

British Embassy Kigali Book Signing Event

While we were in Rwanda, we were invited to the British Embassy in Kigali for a special book signing event for embassy staff. Illuminee (right) is pictured with two members of the Macmillan Rwanda team who were there to help us.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Miracle in Kigali Rwanda Launch July 2008 (2)

This is a photograph of some of the audience at Hotel des Mille Collines, Kigali, for the launch of Miracle in Kigali on the evening of 19 July 2008.

See Shirley Randell's mention of Miracle in Kigali on the Communication for Social Change website.

Miracle in Kigali Rwanda Launch July 2008

We travelled to Kigali, capital of Rwanda, on 12 July 2008 to launch Miracle in Kigali at Hotel des Mille Collines. This is the hotel from the film 'Hotel Rwanda'. The launch event was staged in the hotel's top floor conference facilities on the evening of Thursday 19 July. Our guest of honour was the Hon. Joseph Habineza, Minister of Culture and Sport, who paid tribute to Illuminee's bravery and encouraged us to publish the book in Kinyarwanda. An audience of 150, including most of the Rwandan media, heard Illuminee speak very movingly about her experiences. The photograph shows Illuminee, signing a book for one of the guests, with her brother Eustache on her right.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Rwandan Genocide Memorial Service

We organised a Rwandan Genocide memorial service at Bowthorpe Church, Norwich on Saturday 5 April 2008. The Lord Mayor of Norwich, Councillor Roy Blower was our guest of honour. We also welcomed Patrick Mulenga from the Rwandan Embassy and Ingnatius Mugabo, Secretary of the Rwandese Community Association UK. Our thanks to all at Bowthorpe Church for their help and encouragement.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

United Nations Association Talks

On Friday 18 January 2008, we gave a talk to the United Nations Association, Norwich branch, http://www.una-uk.org/ and followed this up by speaking at the United Nations Association East of England AGM in Cambridge on Saturday 16 February. The photograph shows us with guests at the UN Norwich talk.