Aline Joyce's Corner

Aline Joyce's Corner's is a personal blog with stories about her personal life and her extra-curriculum activities. She features articles related to youth, youth social inclusion, volunteering, peace building in Rwanda as well as global issues.

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Aline Joyce

Aline Joyce

Aline Joyce Berabose is a keen reader and writer. She writes about issues related to youth and peace building. At 17, she has developed interest in blogging and global issues at early age. One of the brightest scholars in science, Multilingual and good communicator, Aline Joyce is involved in several activities including volunteering and debating.

The worst thing in life I can probably wish for is being 20 years old next month. You do not need to be a great thinker or historian to imagine how horrible the 3 months over which the genocide committed against the Tutsis were. Of course I wasn't born yet and I can remember I was explained about what actually occurred when I was six. They could no longer hide it from me as after watching horrible images on a neighbours TV set, I asked my parents and ants questions after questions. It was not a scary movie I had seen. My people were killing my people.

Ruth is my English tutor and she's from Scotland. I often question her what scots would think of me if I visit her city Edinburg and introduce myself as Rwandan. Would they think I am an assassin or what?. '' some would probably think you are not a good person yes'' she narrated eyeing my face to check if I was uncomfortable or ashamed. ''People tend to store awful images on their minds for a very long time. They would associate Rwanda with genocide, Ethiopia with famine —or worse, terrorism with Muslim. Rwanda has moved on a great deal!'' She concluded.

She couldn't be more right. As Rwandans we have learned a  lesson about our unity and tolerance to one another in the hardest way possible and we want to build a prosperous nation with a more peaceful society. However I can't help myself not thinking if a genocide can still occur in my country or elsewhere in the world. Is the ''never again'' slogan an irony? Would the Nations Nations intervene if we had to kill each other?

For me, you don't need to be a political science teacher at Harvard or Oxford to answer both questions. For the 1st, as I know it, the genocide that took place in Rwanda and elsewhere before then were made possible by bad and greedy Leadership. Unfortunately bad leaders with personal agenda and interests will always try to lead our nation. It is our responsibility —young and old —to learn how to challenge them when they try to divide us. In Rwanda we have the same culture, same language and same... well everything. In contrast the Belgians, —Oh yes, the Belgians who made up the difference between us—speak 3 different languages; so do the Swiss. They have lived side by side sometimes with heated politics but no one has killed even a neighbour's pet so far. This is our time as young leaders to define the path of our country. A country where there are no Hutus Nor Tutsis but Rwandans.

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Friends and family members always ask me the reason I prefer volunteer during my school holidays. According to them— why do I have to work for free when other students get jobs and make some money mostly in long holidays. Some are even suggesting that if I really care about children and elderly people this much, I could get job, work hard and help them with half my earnings. It is not a bad idea but I still waiting any of them to hire me or recommend me for a serious job that can help me and all the vulnerable people around me. Today however, I thought I needed to provide a more meaningful answer to all of them and I will make sure they all read this blog.

Every child has an ambition growing up and I certainly had one and still has. When I started my secondary school a few years back my ambition was not to become a successful entrepreneur or a movie star. I was 12 then and the technology was taking the world by storm; social media and smartphone among others. Skype and Facebook were on every youth's lips who wanted to appear cool and geek. Not only I knew I could not keep up with that luxury at that age in social hardship. I also knew I might never own a phone or a Facebook account for the rest of my life. After all, I had not been successful in my national examination ending my 6 years primary education. This meant I was only entitled to the very basic educational program known as 9YBE ( 9 Years Basic Education). My math and English skills were as bad as you could imagine for a 12 years old. But sometime you only need simple words of inspiration or short real life story to make change and turn your life around. My inspirational seeds came from my grand Dad who had always been supportive throughout my childhood. As if He knew he was going to pass away, he told me those keywords when you hear them you know they were just designed to you and you only albeit you would probably never hear them again. I am not ready yet to share into details my chat with my grand dad but at the end of the conversation he did give me a pen and a notebook —with a firm handshake adding that— '' This will only be your future and your granddad when I am gone''. The following weeks and months remained tougher and life uncertain for both for me and my family but my grand dad's seeds kept me going. But the question I keep asking myself is... Will my grand dad's inspiration help achieving something remarkable that  will make change in my country and in the world as a whole?

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Of course I am not an athlete but I well know the track athletes are probably the most strategic when it comes to executing a game plan. And this is very true when it comes to long distance run.

I am now 2 weeks into my last year as a secondary school student. Crucially, 2014 is gonna be the most important 12 months of my teenage years —if not my whole life. You do not spend 6 long years studying hard and end up trading bananas and avocados on side road or second hand bras in Kimironko busy market. Don't get me wrong though. Youth entrepreuneship is one of the best ways through which the young generation is effectively contributing to Rwanda development. But going into job market and such business opportunities at young age have never been in my mind —let alone setting it as my future ambition.

It is true I did not attend these prestigious and well known schools of Kigali. It is also a fact that I started school slowly as track athletes do— probably I was as slow as a marathon runner — but I always believed in hard work and destiny. This led me to plan each year in a way that I can compete effectively with the best students in the country in the national examination in November. For the last 2 years I am not only relying on my school curriculum but I have incorporate some interesting after school activities and math tutoring. Writing and debating are now part of my daily life. My friends always ask me why I should even waste my time in putting such efforts into English language and writing skills. '' For goodness sake! You are a science student not a language student!'' One said the other day.

Maybe I should have explained to each of them how debating and writing have improved my critical thinking, an important skill in science. I do rarely provide that as answer and it's not because I do not know it is indeed the best but I prefer giving them a more convincing one: ''You know guys, the master plan is to go to university and study aviation engineering'' thats how I often start my explanation telling them loudly as if I was in a debate contest.  '' As a woman pilot you need to be able to communicate efficiently. But even if I do not make it —how do you explain for instance the gravity laws to other people if you can't even talk properly huh?''. I conclude bringing everyone to my side.

Let me get back to the running tactics and strategies —the raison d'être (French again! ) of my today's article. I love watching 1500m and 5000m races and I have realised that the right tactics and strategy can win races. While it is true the athlete's body fitness and endurance will be the ultimate physical determiners of who wins and who loses, the strategic planning is the most important in both races.

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Today is Tuesday evening and it is my 6th day at the Gashora Girls Academy. This magnificent girls school overlooks the lake Milayi and the view of the lake from the dormitory is breathtaking.

Indeed, the general topography of Bugesera district where the school is located deviates from the Rwanda's pattern of hills and valleys. It is flat like a plateau. After a long day full of debate sessions and fun activities - overlooking through the windows - feels like I am on an exotic holiday. It is exactly what I needed as I had spent the months of October and November volunteering at my favourite Orphanage in Kigali.

For 10 days myself and more than 100 students, boys and girls have been brought  together in a debate camp organised by idebate Rwanda supported by the Goethe Institute. This is rather an intensive training as the typical day at the camp can last 10 hours. Lessons starting at 8 and finishing at 4 with 2 hours of lunch break. We are trained in how to efficiently analyse issues and policies, construct and deconstruct arguments as well as using rhetoric.

Our trainers Antonis, Jack, Jordan and Gwyn are from the central London Debating Society in Great Britain and have devised us in 4 mega groups: The Lions, Tigers, Gorillas and Eagles with 25 to 30 students each. Antonis Koutsoumbos is my group coach - the Lions. The mood in the camp is simply incredible with mini fun sessions throughout the day and joke time at the dead end of the day.
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On est en pleine vacances. N'est ce pas? This is my first week at home for my two months long school holidays and I though I could share with you my '' to do'' list. Myself and people around me decided this is not going to be idle hands holidays. Activities on the list were chosen with my studies in mind as I am moving up to senior 6 in January, the last year of my secondary school education.

 

Community service:

School holidays are my ideal period to connect with my community and help as much as I can. So I dedicated november to different activities including volunteering.

When: November 2014

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I always thought speaking many languages was cool. My cousin Cynthia does speak up to 4 languages and she's still eager to learn more. I won't be surprised when she doubles the number as she's only 16. Yes! At 16 she's fluent in English, French , Dutch and her kinyarwanda is getting better and better everyday. We are so close as we realised we both value being multilingual in this ever changing world. While she's taking on German, I am in the middle of my french lessons.

For me it's not about how many languages I will be able to speak but how fluent I can be in my chosen languages when i turn 19. The general advice given to me was that it is much easier to learn and master a language when you are still young. My english is nearing where I want it to be...obviously!

So I thought my next target should be French. As I did with English, I am now having some intensive french lessons at Ecole Francaise in town. If there is a language I will learn and master in a very short period, that must be French as I already know the basics and was assessed as intermidiate by my teachers at the French school - L' Ecole Francaise de Saint Expery in Kiyovu.

The fact that my mum is fluent in French is a huge advantage to me. The same apply with Swahili obviously. So before the end of the year, I should be having 4 languages in the bag. The serious work will actually begin in January with my spanish classes. You always need the best tutors - preferably native speakers - to make sure you are on the right track. So having native french and spanish teachers will help my proficiency a great deal.

So what is so special at speaking multiple languages I hear you ask!

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"Une fois n'est pas coutume'' they say in french. I hope i am not giving impression of being good at french because my french is more or less terrible. Une fois n'est pas coutume - because last Wednesday i missed school on purpose. Yes Wednesday is  a school day but it is the day we have less lessons and decided to skip it because my week end is always busy with my private tutor and the church.

I have been planning of going back to Mageragere, a surbub outside Kigali city. This is the place I spent the whole year of 2012 in S4. Since i left and moved to my new school inside the city, I hardly received news about my old school and old classmates. So now you know why I skipped the school right?  At this point anyone reading this is surely thinking that i was missing my old school mates and i wanted to visit them.

That is not the case as i was in fact missing the surroundings. Right in front of the College de Butamwa, there is a settlement commonly known as "umudugugu" of about 100 houses of widows and orphans. So during my time as boarding student at this college, me and some of my classmates used to visit this mudugudu and help the most vulnerable people, mostly elderly women and disabled. Any help was crucial as it could make a difference on their daily life. Some could not walk or cook for themselves. Those who can cook needed water to cook food provided by local authorities. Now you get the point I hope.

Going back home

So I thought i was taking too long to go back and check on them and  see how they were coping with their lives. I was fortunate because my cousin, Cynthia from Belgium was willing to go with me. she has been volunteering at Gisimba orphanage for 2 months but has not visited genocide survivors in their homes yet. I have been saving my pocket money and some other income i get from this blog in advertising revenues. After putting together presents for 3 women i wanted to help we contacted the social worker, a genocide survivor herself. We needed her assistance as she knows them more than anybody else.

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Hey everybody...I am back!

I have to admit that as a secondary school student, It is not going to be easy to update my blog so often. I have been busier than ever for the last 2 months.

On top of my science studies and some extra-curriculum activities, a few of you knew i was a competitive debater. In fact i have been debating for more than an year now and was elected as the president of the debating club at my school.

So why Am I so interested in debating?

Debating is an art of verbal self defence. Debate is more that just talking or arguing. It is about engaging an opposition in a rigorous intellectual contest. So defending my position and bring judges on my side gives me great pleasure:)

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Hi guys!

I has been a while since i published an article. But am happy i can tell you i was working behind the scenes by gaining some technical knowledge that is going to help me adding some amazing features to my blog. I had also the chance to meet some high profile individuals in the business. One of the them being the Boss of Igihe Ltd.

I was always inspired by Igihe Ltd success story and thought it would be cool to meet the guy who was behind the idea of creating igihe.com and ask him some questions about the company as well as some advice about my job as a young blogger. The interview was arranged for last Saturday in his office. At about 15:00 -  a very tall, humble and smiling guy came to meet me in one of Igihe's visitors rooms. After a few chit chats and a delicious dinner with Meilleur, I knew Igihe Ltd was born from vision, simplicity and patriotism.

Here is the script of my Interview with Meilleur Murindabigwi, CEO of Igihe Limited:

Aline Joyce: Who 1st had the idea of creating Igihe.com and where the Idea came from?

Meilleur Murindabigwi: I am the one who got the idea sometime in 2007. I was fed up with untrue stories being written about Rwanda, most strories were written by foreign media and i thought that it had to change. At the time i was studying Business and IT at NUR. So i mobilized fellow students from different universities. At the same period, the government was also heavily encouraging ICT initiatives throughout the country.

AJ: Igihe.com is among the 30 000 most visited websites in the world as we speak, did you guys knew it would be a such success?

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There is a quote that has been giving me inspiration and I want to share it with Rwandan youth like me. Martin Luther King once said that '' The choice is not between being violent and not being violent. The choice is between not being violent and nonexistent'' Time is now for Rwandan youth and Rwanda as a country to get over our terrible past, remove our misunderstandings and start rebuilding our nation as brothers and sisters. otherwise, a violent life is not worth living really.

But Let's face the truth: what happened in 1994, a terrible genocide was primarily our responsibility and youth played a big role in it. You can argue young people were manipulated by politicians, you can also argue that foreign countries assisted killers on one side or failed to rescue those in danger on the other side. However, None came from Asia nor South America with a machete and killed in our neighbourhoods. Young people had a choice to oppose and say I am not doing this or you are not killing anyone on my watch.

What we failed to do in the past, we can do it today and in the future.

Look around, search the Internet, analyse television images, think of a massive event you once took part. Young people younger than 25 years old are far greater in numbers and more active and much stronger than the rest of the population. It only means that if we decide to get involved and do the right thing in everything we do, no one will be able to destroy our country. No one! But this is only possible if there is trust between ourselves as trust brings strong friendship and brotherhood. Of course, our recent history will always be in each of our minds, whichever tribe or clan we belong to. But I am more than convinced than if we understand we belong to the same country, a country with one one culture and one language , if we understand we face the same challenges as Rwandans, then the clan we belong to will become meaningless in how we are going to live our lives.

Learning to live together in clubs and sport activities.

As students in secondary school like me, the best way to build strong friendship is through clubs and sport activities. School clubs are also the place to debate our misunderstandings that can lead to violence. There is probably an Unity and reconciliation club in every Kigali school. These clubs are the key to unity of Rwandan youth especially students in boarding schools. Schools and universities have also other type of clubs and chapters including debate, entrepreneurship, media, drama, girls in ICT, Scouts and more more. Schools have also sport teams —football, basketball, volleyball — that practice almost every day after lessons. All these youth activities ultimately contributed to create peace and reconciliation in the society that has gone through the ordeal of abominable violence, intimidation as our country did in 1994. It is not by chance that some government departments have put in place extra curricular programs for scholars and young adults all over Kigali and beyond. Also several Non Government Organisations and charities operating in Kigali are also involved in creating youth activities in most districts of the capital. Outside the schools, it is also a good thing that Rwandan youth are widely interested in football teams where you find them in different bars watching football matches of local teams such as APR FC, My favourite team Rayon sport, Kiyovu sport among many others.

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My city is developing in my eyes but it is full of contrasts and paradoxes. I always wonder if my future lies in it or if i will end up moving back to Mageragere a deep village where I spent one year in a public school or even worse.

Looking at Kigali city today, you can't help but get amazed by modern skyscrapers that fill all business districts, markets that have been transformed into luxury shopping malls, roads and streets have been beautified while open-air markets found themselves adjacent to modern banks and international hotels. The new Kigali City Tower, an impressive glass-and-steel skyscraper that curves like a sail at its peak, sits on a dusty tract of undeveloped land.

The high-end housing of Nyarutarama and Remera built in a formerly rural areas have all urban amenities. Kacyiru, Kimicanga and Gacuriro poor informal settlements have been rebuilt and reorganized into modern single-family homes sending old residents back to villages. Yes, Kigali is on fire and it is certainly the city of the future.

But all this modernization has led to a remarkable contrast between extreme wealth and poverty which keeps increasing even faster.

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In the downturn of Kabeza where I stay with mum, all seems relatively prosperous. But that is only because what you see is green hills and a beautiful sky over your head. In the evening when I come back home from school , apart from the sun shining over hills and banana trees, I always see children gathering water into large plastic jugs from open taps that spill into drains. That's when i realize that Kabeza is semi detached from the city. The further down the hill you go, the rougher the terrain, and the more dense and crude the housing. The road leading down the hill where our home is located seems more or less crest of a broad hill, or it is at least elevated because about every 200 metres, there are roads that lead, from which other roads and paths twist and turn and all of is inhabited with all manner of dwelling. It is exotic!

My typical day in Kabeza is very uptight as long as I go to school. Usually, I get up early at 5:30. It is important to set my Nokia's alarm as i try to be strict on my timeline. I then jump out of my warm bed and have a cold cleaning up to freshen myself. After a quick bath and all the girly preparations, I have a few minutes of praying before dressing up for school.

It is  very rare to have breakfast in the morning. It is not my thing. It usually takes me 20 minutes or so to get to school. We are required to arrive at 7:30 as the 1st lesson is at 8:00.

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Posted by on in Aline Joyce's Corner

Hello Everyone!

My name is Aline Joyce and I am 16 years old from Kigali Rwanda. This is my new blog as I am attempting to improve my writing skills and hopefully becoming a blogger.

I have recently left my boarding school situated outside Kigali and now attending my new school at a short walking distance from my home. Of course i do already miss my friends at my old school. My teachers were also great and very helpful; but staying several months away from my mum was stressful.

Being a day scholar means i have access to the internet and the National library in the week-end as well as other health and fitness profiles near Kabeza, my lovely suburb. I have also opportunity of improving my communication skills by enrolling on English Course at the British council in town. I am not sure if my time schedule will allow this but it is among my plans and I am hoping my dad can sort this out asap. Hey Dad! I know you are reading this!

I think i have made a good choice by leaving my boarding school as benefits have been massive so far;)

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