The Ex-Poachers’ Villages
Iby’Iwacu locally means, treasures of our home, our heritage. We want therefore to share with you our home and heritage treasures. The village is located in Nyabigoma cell, Kinigi Sector, Musanze district,Northern Province.
At this village, you can discover the old-fashioned house of a local king, watch an authentic medicine man prepare herbal mixtures, try your hand at bow and arrow shooting or enjoy cultural dances and drumming performed by people from the local community.
Iby’iwacu village offers a busy programme that lasts roughly two hours in slots preferably after a gorilla tracking in Rwanda’s Vaolcanoes National Park in the morning. The setting is an eccentric wood-and-thatch replica of a traditional Rwandan palace, second only in size to the restored palace at Nyanza Museum, and a perfect stage for traditional Intore dancers to share their drumming and dance routines.
Locatd near the car park at the trail-head for the Sabinyo Group and Group Thirteen, Iby’iwacu village an award-winning venture was initiated in 2004 by Edwin Sabuhoro of Rwanda Eco-tours to aid improve the livelihood of the Volcanoes National Park neighboring populations and thus decreasing human pressure on the well-cherished resources of the park. The cultural village is fundamentally the community flagship for an ambitious project that provides legitimate employment in fields such as vegetable and mushroom farming, beekeeping and tourism to about 1000 former poachers.
WHAT TO DO AT IBY’IWACU CULTURAL VILLAGE
At Iby’Iwacu Tours are tailored according to the visitors’ interests. Activities at the Villages include:-
(a) Community Walk, led by a community member, you will visit various sites within the community and the tour will offer you a rare and memorable insight into the everyday lives of the village locals.
(b) Visit the King’s house mockup plus all the Kings stories and meaning of all parts within the house as you are guided by a local historic and traditional guide. At this house, you can be a temporary king as you will be crowned like a king and exercise some king’s powers as conferred upon you by a community elder through a village ceremony.
(c) Traditional Dances: there are 8 diverse types of traditional dances by various categories of people in the community, for instance men, women, youths and the children, and other local and traditional musical instruments like Intore dances, Umuduri, Ikembe, drumming, Ibyivugo, Ingoma, Amakondera, Iningiri, Inanga, Agakenke, and many more.
(d) You will also listen to the prominent song of the gorillas by the famous Ngayabatema, normally referred to as Kayuku.
(e) Visit the local Traditional Healer: Yow will be shown or taught different curative trees, shrubs, grass and their traditional medicine uses plus the way they are administered to patients. You will visit old-style clinics and pharmacies, the elderly and listen to the ear-catching stories of pre and post-colonial times.
(f) You may visit the local schools and in case you are a teacher, you may offer or attend lessons and see how pupils are taught in schools.
(g) You may have a local lunch or dinner with local individuals.
(h) Through interactions with the locals, you may exchange cultural experiences verbally between visitors and locals in comparison.
(i) You will get to know the Ex-poachers ways of hunting methods and stories from the former poachers.
(j) You may participate or watch local football matches.
(k) Visit the Batwa earthenware or pottery making experiences and lessons.
(l) You will see Artisans and handicraft craft making by the locals of all ages.
At present, 40% of the fees collections at this village right away goes to community members who perform and do other activities whereas 60% goes to the village fund managed by a committee that channels it into numerous helpful efforts to uplift local people in farming and education.