As nation reconciles with itself, a successful transition helps Rwanda recover from past wounds.
Geography and climate - People - Environment - Historical Backgrounds - Gacaca System - Tribute to Courage - Help a Child! - Government - Religion - Art and Literature - Communicating With Rwandans - Family Life - Intore Dance of Peace - Food in Rwanda - Sports and Recreation - Travel Tips - Where to Go - Did you know?

Did you know?

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 of Rwanda. 
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 children.

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 geometric designs.

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