Storybooks From Rwanda
Storybooks From Rwanda
A collection of at least 5 oral Rwandan stories from the Pygmy people will be illustrated and published.
A collection of at least 5 oral Rwandan stories from the Pygmy people will be illustrated and published. Read more
Even as a youngster, I've always been interested in stories. When I had the opportunity to travel to Rwanda 6 years ago, I was determined to find a story. But because the genocide had occurred only 12 years earlier, most Rwandans were still in survival mode. The second time I went, I had the unexpected opportunity to visit a Pygmy tribe where I was able to trade stories. When looking around the country, I noticed there was no library and the books I found in book stores and high end hotels were priced the same as in the United States AND there were no Rwandan stories. I got the brilliant idea of collecting the stories from the Pygmies, publishing and illustrating them and then presenting them back to the country and presenting them to the world. I started with the two I traded from the Pygmies and have published one in a local magazine. I am currently searching for an African illustrator for the stories I collect to make them authentically African. I will listen and then write, the artist will illustrate and you will read!
I will be heading to Rwanda in the next couple of months and will be visiting the Pygmy tribe again with hopes of collecting at least three (3) more stories during this trip. I have contacted August House with the hopes that they will publish my books separately, but will be contented if they will publish a collection of the stories. By donating today, I will take you with me through a written journal on this upcoming journey to Rwanda. I produce a daily blog complete with photos and I'll be sending this to you via email so you will be literally taking this journey with me. I will be working with a dentist while I'm there along with my search for stories, so you will get a crazy fun filled journey as I'm not trained as a dental assistant by any means of the word. Below is an except from one of my previous visits.
17 Janiver, 2011 ...."I hope to collect a couple more stories. Claude is tall and lean. He coaches and plays soccer (Rwandan football) and is very athletic. He usually does this Sunday mornings and then goes out to see the Pygmies on Sunday afternoons. He doesn’t go out every Sunday and I don’t think they are expecting him this Sunday, but he will go with us. He is not the same Field Operative who went with us last year when we delivered flour and beans. When we get to the end of the bus line, we depart and Claude starts looking for motorcycle taxis. This will definitely be a trip to remember. I have packed plenty of water and my storytelling felt board for my “Legs, Arms, Body” story for the Pygmies. It sticks out of my backpack and I can’t get it all the way closed. I’m afraid with the wind, that it will catch, pull the zipper open and I will lose it. As I mount the motorcycle, I think this might be a problem, so I wrap my arm back around the backpack to keep it closed. This leaves only one hand hanging onto the bar at the back of the motorcycle. I do not need to fear as I think my driver was more afraid than I was. He was so careful that he slowed way down and carefully negotiated the ruts, dodged water puddles, and kept the bike as upright as possible. He was so careful, it was comical. We got so far behind that at one point he had to stop and ask which way the other motorcycles had gone. I had to smile to myself as I might have been the first muzungu woman whom he’d had to taxi up into the hills outside of Kigali. Once again, I was a hit and the people along the way would shout out Muzungu! And wave. My helmet was too big and kept sliding forward over my eyes, but my blond hair waving out the back and light skin was a dead giveaway. My driver laughed as we went. I wonder if he’d ever been the star of a parade before. I was glad I had protected my backpack, because sure enough, the wind had caught the story board and had opened my backpack zipper. I didn't lose anything, but without my arm around the pack, I might have....."
I hope you will join me as I travel to a far corner of the world, collect more stories and then return to the US to get them illustrated, published and out for the world to enjoy. I will be using your donations to pay for an illustrator, pay the publisher and part of my expenses overseas including airfare, hotel, taxis and food. The stories I collect will be one-of-a-kind because the Pygmy people are an illiterate people, meaning their stories have been passed down from generation to generation. These stories will be the original folklore of the people of Rwanda. I'm really looking forward to learning more about them and sharing this story with you!! If I don't get fully funded, I might be able to make the trip, but won't have the means to publish the books which would be a lose for the whole world.
Thank you in advance for your support and the excitement that I feel by being able to share my adventure with you.
Risks and challenges
Rwanda is a mostly French and Kinyarwandan speaking country. I speak fair French and am learning more every day. Many Rwandans speak broken English and are learning every day also. My translator Claude will be going with me to visit the Pygmies and he speaks fairly good English, great French and Kinyarwandan and I will also bring another translator with me. I will be filming the experience so what I don't get translated on the spot, I can bring back to the USA and have friends help me with the translation. I will be hand writing the gist of each story and then filling out the details later in true storytelling fashion.
I haven't heard back from August House Publishers, but feel fairly confident that they will publish the stories I collect. One of their criteria is helping publish undiscovered folklore from around the world. As soon as I have the other stories, I will send them to other publishers if I am turned down at August House. From what I hear, rejection is common, but persistence pays off. I feel this is an important project and I have the drive to make sure someone else feels that way also to get them published.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (28 days)