The Well Blog

Get To Know Ruhango

Photography by Doug Klembara. Words by Kelsi Klembara

Day 3 of the 10 Days

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In the southeastern hills of Ruhango District lies a stone mountain named after one of the earliest and most memorable Rwandan kings, Ruganzu. Climb to the top of the mountain on a clear day, and you feel like you have a view of Rwanda in its entirety. Like many locations in Rwanda, this mountain is enveloped by stories of Ruganzu and other early Rwandan kings—men dedicated to protecting their people and enforcing justice against wrongdoing.

Ruhango District in early morning fog.

On the way to Ruwenzi village in Ruhango.

A view of Ruhango countryside. Farming remains the predominant source of income in the district as well as throughout Rwanda.

These rulers loved their land, and they often climbed this stone mountain to look out over their kingdom. Legend has it that these mighty and magical men had the powers to fly and soften the rocks under their footsteps. One story even describes a king who made water flow from a rock for a thirsty community to drink.

Ruhango is representative of many districts in Rwanda. Driving down the beautiful, new national road that cuts through the center of the district, the streets of Ruhango bustle with life as people walk to and from work and school. Filled with rolling hills, rice fields and narrow dirt roads, Ruhango communities love their homes and their neighbors.

Ruhango District on the national road.

Ruhango District near Ruganzu mountain.

Other than the national road that cuts through the middle of Ruhango, most of the roads in the district remain unpaved.

Ruhango District.

Ruhango District.

Like most of Rwanda, farming is the predominant source of employment and income in this southeastern district. Despite improvements in school attendance and sanitation over the years, Ruhango has one of the lowest percentages amongst Rwandan districts for household use of a safe and clean water source.…

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Meet Your Neighbors: Karol, the guardian of the well

Day 1 of the 10 Days

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As you approach the water well in Nyurukizi village, you’ll see a tall, lean man wearing a puffy red vest. Surrounding the man and the well is a lush garden full of blossoms and vibrant greens. You will observe him either mid-conversation with someone from the village—a bright, yellow …

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Meet Your Neighbors: Philomene and her hope for clean water

Throughout the next few weeks we’ll be sharing stories from Rwanda. These are real people whose lives have been changed because of clean water. 

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It’s midday when Philomene walks downhill on a narrow dirt road toward the community stream five minutes from her home. She carries a jerrycan on her head, and a basket under …

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Meet Your Neighbors: Narcisse, the responsible leader

Throughout the next few weeks we’ll be sharing stories from Rwanda. These are real people whose lives have been changed because of clean water. 

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Narcisse walks over the dirt divisions separating the miles of rice fields just below his home in Nyamugari village. He waves to neighbors at work in their own plots of rice, …

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Meet Your Neighbors: Sezibera, a chief with a purpose

Throughout the next few weeks we’ll be sharing stories from Rwanda. These are real people whose lives have been changed because of clean water. 

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Sezibera walks to well drilling site in Ruwenzi just as the crowd starts to grow. He stands out from the crowd, talking with neighbors in his bright yellow shirt and his …

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Meet Your Neighbors: Christina, the Advocate for Peace

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As the rain falls lightly outside, Christina pours clean water over her living room floor. Baby Aliome sleeps peacefully on Christine’s back as six-year-old Diome and four-year-old Burime, circle the room in a never-ending game of tag.

Christina is young and petite. Her strength is in her smile—wide and bright and shared often. She hums …

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