SPORTS: The first major regional soccer tournament
since the civil war in 1994 was held in Rwanda in
1997. It was organized by the Confederation of East
and Central African Football Associations. The Rwandan
team won the championship.
POPULATION: Rwanda is Africa's most densely
populated country. More than eight million people
live in a country that is less than half the size
of Nova Scotia. More than 90% of the population
lives in rural areas.
TOURISM: The mountain gorillas of Rwanda
were studied by American zoologist Dian Fossey,
author of Gorillas in the Mist. She was killed in
Rwanda in 1985 and is buried there under a stone
marked with the word Nyiramacilibi, which means
"the lone woman of the forest."
HISTORY: The mwami (king) in Rwanda was considered
a sacred being, whose power was of divine origin.
A drum called kalinga, which was so sacred that
it was never used, was a symbol of his authority.
ETHNIC: In addition to the Hutu, Tutsi and
Twa people, Rwanda has a small minority of Hima
people. This is a nomadic group from the Nile Valley,
who inhabit the northern and northeastern regions
| WOMEN: In the
past, rich Tutsi women often wore heavy copper bracelets
and anklets. Because of the weight of these ornaments,
the women were unable to do much work. The ornaments
distinguished affluent women from women who worked
in the fields.
CULTURE: Pyrethrum, which grows in Rwanda,
is a daisy-like flower used to make a natural insecticide.
Its properties were discovered during the First
World War, when a group of soldiers camped overnight
in a field of pyrethrum. By morning, the lice that
had infested the soldiers had all been killed.
HEALTH: Kwashiorkor is a disease caused by
a lack of protein in the diet. It affects many Rwandan
FOOD: Cassava is a vegetable with large,
tuberous roots that can grow in poor soil and tolerate
drought. It can be left in the ground for up to
four years before being harvested, but once it is
harvested, it must be eaten immediately.
TRADITIONS: In some areas of Rwanda, Hutu
minstrels used to travel from place to place. The
minstrels gathered news and passed it on in the
form of a song, performed to the accompaniment of
a seven-stringed zither.
In the region of Rusumo, east of Kigali, farmers
used to decorate the walls of their buildings with
cow dung, which they sculpted and painted in bold