Why did you decide to start leading experiential travel tours?
After 1994 genocide atrocities, I had no job and I had to figure out how I to live and sustain my family. I started working as a local guide taking tourists around Musanze town and they visited local peoples at their homesteads and showcased our cultural aspects like making the local banana beer, basket weaving, and pottery. I met many international overlanders who brought tourists to visit the mountain gorillas and I started my own tours company which I still run.
What do you hope to gain from showing people your environment and culture?
I will gain by seeing that the locals are now proud of conserving the environment since they do gain economically by featuring various cultural activities to tourists who pay a substantial amount to them. They earn a living by doing so. I will be linking tourism and conservation for community development around the volcanoes national park.
What are you most excited to share with tourists?
My company is all about community, wildlife, tourism and travel. We promote sustainable tourism through community and conservation programs. Our cultural tourism scheme involves developing our community and promoting our nature preserve through tourism. We bring under-served communities into the tourism supply chain and support community development projects that help people help themselves through our initiatives (http://redrocksinitiative.org/). Through our works we have launched many projects which are helping local community get access to education, health care, and sustainable income that honors their traditional way of life. We provide a sustained, reliable source of funding for the local organization through the tourism industry. We created a respectful environment where the local community feels comfortable with tourists and work to position conservation as a competitive land use that delivers benefits to local communities, creates jobs, stimulates local micro-enterprise development, promotes local procurement, develops skills and knowledge and ultimately improves livelihoods within the Volcanoes National Park.
What fears do you have about making your land and lifestyle more public?
I have no fears so long as whatever I will say is the truth.
What specifically about your culture/history/environment would be beneficial for a traveler to learn about before taking their trip?
We have different packages. All are designed to conserve the environment with an aim to strengthen the community, protect cultural traditions, and advance sustainable community livelihood to reduce the poaching of endangered wildlife by providing them with an alternative income in the follows areas:
Protection and Preservation of endangered tree spices in Kagano Botanic Garden for tradition herbs and medical plants which communities used to poach in Volcano National Park, that is in process of being upgraded to be a research center.
Conservation and Protection of land degradation and soil erosion by tree planting in community gardens using Red Rocks initiative of banana bags (Igihoho Seed Bags) made in banana backs which are biodegradable and can often be decomposed and are suitable for soil conservation, instead of petroleum-based plastic containers.
Reducing the poaching of endangered wildlife by supporting communities in different developmental projects to improve and elevate the day-to-day livelihood for the communities neighboring the Volcanoes National Park.
Partnering with local authority / government in supporting and preserving Community cultural heritages/sights for travel and tourism attraction.
Protection and supporting less-advantaged communities in Kagano community village in Particular Indigenous people who used to depend on hunting in the national park forests.
Supporting and constructions of shelters for poor vulnerable families adjacent to volcanoes National Park.
Vocational Skills training in traditional crafts like basket weaving, Art and crafts products, Hotel services-waiters and waitresses and tour guides to inevitably uplifted their living standards.
Livestock assistance to vulnerable poor communities due to land scarcity like Goats, Pigs, Rabbits and Poultry project to uplift those poor communities livelihoods.
Supporting and creation of vegetable gardens for a community farming project for malnutrition eradication to singles and teenager mothers who gave birth at immaturity age.
The setting and supporting tourist “Community Walk” and experiences banana beer making and enjoy banana beer cocktail, watching of local music performances from local artists, storytelling and poetry.
Organizing and conducting annual Cultural Harvest Season “Umuganura” commonly known as national Umuganura festival as preservation of Rwandan culture and heritage, with a goal of increasing public awareness of Rwanda’s cultural heritage;
We plan to sets out joint objectives of environmental sustainability and community development. However, there is far more work to be done in creating links between Red Rock’s activities and the environment. Establishing an educational program to teach the local community the importance of protecting the environment is a key future goal. Part of the reason that clear environmental links are lacking at Red Rocks is the difficulty in creating pro-environmental activities that also create profit. On the other hand, development projects such as diversifying the livelihoods of cooperatives have a clear economic link through the sale of handicrafts and activities.