Sunday, April 06, 2008

Intore Dancing

One of the most marvelous aspects of Rwandan culture is the dancing. They are some of the most athletic dancers I have seen!

The Intore dancers (pronounced een-or-ay) often perform during parades, national holidays, and weddings. The men's dancing is said to symbolize the ancient warrior culture of Rwandans, while the women's dancing is said to symbolize the grace of cows, which are hallowed in the culture. When the women raise their arms and push their palms outward, they are representing the horns of the cows (which have some very unique horns, and can most likely be seen out east).

Other than the jumping, I love how the dancers are always smiling.

Here is a video of Intore dancers! This was taken at the Lake Kivu Serena, where on Friday nights (I think) they have "African Night," and feature these dancers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Morgan -
I've been reading your blog over the past year and am so appreciative for your insights about Rwanda. I'll be there in May and June. Went to a local (Seattle) service yesterday to commemorate the start of the genocide 14 years ago. Wonder what you experienced this day in Rwanda? Many thanks! -Kathy

4/07/2008 1:37 AM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Kathy, it was really, really depressing. It's like a wet blanket is thrown over the country for a week, and with good reason. On the first day in Gisenyi, there was a march in town, and people wore dark purple to mark the occasion. There is no music (unless it's genocide related), no dancing, and no drinking (or, at least, it's heavily frowned upon) during the week. There are lectures and documentary showings and panel discussions in all of the regional hubs about what happened, why, how, and how it can be prevented from happening again. The week culminates in a ceremony at a local genocide memorial, during which the remains of people who had been found during the year are enterred. In Gisenyi, a Minister came to speak, and there were testimonials from survivors. Some women went insane, and there were people sitting on the ground weeping and pounding the earth. It was very, very emotional. I wrote a bit about it in one of my posts from April 2006.

I wish you the best of luck when you head over in May and June! You'll find it's a beautiful country, one that is hopeful for change and development.

4/07/2008 6:30 PM  
Blogger Flounder said...

1- I love Rwanda, was there in 1973
2- LOVE the blog, like Kathy I've been reading this for some time, playing catch-up with your story and the events there. VERY well done! Many Thanks for your stories, insights and photos.
3- I heard this AM on the BBC that there were two incidents of violence including casualties in Kigali - likely related to the genocide. My thoughts immediately went to you and the schools I worked with so long ago.

Praying for your safety ....

4/11/2008 12:39 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

It turns out that my friend Faycal was on to something when he told me it wasn't wise to participate in the procession...

Here's the text of the news article referenced by flounder.

Attacks in Rwanda genocide week

There have been two fatal attacks in Rwanda during a week of mourning for the victims of the 1994 genocide.

Police spokesman Marcel Higiro said armed men threw a grenade at the genocide museum in the capital, killing one policeman and injuring another.

In a separate incident, a car was driven at speed through a commemoration procession, killing one person.

A BBC reporter in Rwanda says tensions remain between survivors and the many people who took part in the killings.

About 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed in 100 days 14 years ago.

An official says the museum was not damaged in the attack on Thursday evening.

"This act of terrorism was intended to frighten people away from coming to the Kigali Memorial Centre, but has had the opposite effect," said James Smith, head of the Aegis Trust which runs the museum.

The BBC's Geoffrey Mutagoma in the capital, Kigali, says he saw more than 1,000 genocide survivors at the centre on Friday paying their respects to slain friends and relatives.

A man has been arrested in connection with the procession incident, our reporter says.

The genocide was triggered in April 1994 by the shooting-down of ethnic Hutu President Juvenal Habyarimana's plane as it was coming in to land in Kigali.

The killing continued until a Tutsi-dominated rebel army seized control.

4/15/2008 1:31 PM  
Blogger Flounder said...

15 minutes ago - "Plane crashes in Goma!"

Knowing how close Goma is to Rwanda ... I have to wonder if the plane was at all EAST of the runway he'd be in Gisenyi!

Again Morgan, praying for your safety.

4/15/2008 5:36 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Well, I just got back from the last trip (not sure if I'm headed back again soon or not) so I'm safe. But I did see the Goma crash as well and worried about Gisenyi! A terrible tragedy. At least there were some survivors.

4/16/2008 1:53 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Morgan (& Kathy)

I've been reading your blog lately--all the older posts-- to help me prepare for my own trip. Your words are amazing. Your work amazing. I have so many questions. Sounds like I'll be there when Kathy is though I don't know her. Is there any chance you would allow contact or a dialogue
before I go? Here is my contact info for you and the world to see: or 860.5023.7319

[going in part with:]

Please cointact me. I'm in CT going with a small group from around the US and Europe. I want to ask you about the work I have in mind for there and get your insights so I can make adjustments and better be of service.

My favorite post was the one about the foam. That rocked!


p.s. i stole your idea and used steveinrwanda for my blog. ok?

4/26/2008 7:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan,
Love your blog. I will be in Rwanda from May to June . As a rwandan woman , I am amazed about all you seen and say about my beloved country. I can't wait for my american husband to experience all. God Bless and lets hang out in Kigali!!!!!!


4/28/2008 1:24 PM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...

Jane, thanks for your kind words, and enjoy the visit home! Rwanda has been changing so fast--I think you'll notice it, too!

Steve, I'm happy to advise :)

5/05/2008 11:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan,

I've been reading your blog over the past few weeks as I'm preparing for my own trip to Rwanda; I'll be living and working in Kigali for six months, starting in July.

What you've written has been so helpful in getting ready to go, but I had a few other questions I thought you might be able to answer (mostly very mundane things, about clothes and packing, etc). Do you have an email where I could contact you, or if you're able, you can get in touch with me at I'd really appreciate it!

5/22/2008 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Morgan,
just got back from Rwanda last night and oh man oh man, what a change. I was there in 2005 but I could not believe all the changes in 2008! We had so much fun and my husband loved it and he is considering going back someday for work. We had a tour of Rwanda, saw the gorillas and it was amazing . The Akagera park was fun too and the food was yummmmmmm. Again, thanks for the blog and if anyone wants some information, I will be more than happy to help. Keep up all the good work on your blog. Jane

6/02/2008 8:52 AM  
Blogger Rishi said...

hey morgan,
wish i could read your whole blog, but alas, i'm a peace corps volunteer on a budget in a dingy internet cafe in uganda. this is less a fan posting than a shameless solicitation for knowledge.

i saw that a couple of years ago you got some soccer balls and equipment. i was planning on doing something similar, but am trying to figure out what will happen when the balls get punctured and kids grow out of their cleats. i was wondering how the project's going these days (i think it's been a couple of years?), and also if you came across any sustainable solutions for keeping a steady supply of equipment going.

with no shame but a noble cause,

6/10/2008 4:53 AM  
Blogger Morgan C. said...


Yay Peace Corps! What a great agency :)

It's funny that you ask that because I was talking today to a friend about how the supply of balls was the weakness in the sustainability. My situation was a little different from yours in that anything implemented in a refugee camp is inherently unsustainable by virtue of the fact that (theoretically) someday, the refugees will return home. In the case of my camp, they were to be transferred to a "real" camp--that is, one in which services were offered, etc.

That said, what I wrote was something akin to a Peace Corps Partnership Project proposal. I worked with the refugee youth committee and together, we discussed how we could put together a funding proposal for the soccer team. We wrote one up, saying what we needed and how critical it was to the community. We also took some pictures of the youth playing with balls made of plastic bags (which I'm sure you see in Uganda).

I sent the proposal off to a couple of my friends in DC. They performed an amazing feat--they collected enough money to buy dozens of balls, pumps, etc. and a friend who was coming to visit hand-carried them to Rwanda.

I was worried about the balls lasting and was also worried about theft, since they were of a much higher quality than the Chinese stuff you find in the market. I put into place a system where I would give them two balls at a time. One was a practice ball, and one was a "game" ball. When one broke or deflated (basically, when it was unusable), they would give the ragged ball to the UNHCR person visiting the site, and a new ball would be given to them. I think there were 36 balls (I have to check my old post to be sure) and they lasted this way for over a year.

The refugees have since been transferred to a real camp (hurray!), and when I saw them, they said that they still had enough balls.

Now--how to make it sustainable? I would think of forming an association from the team. Already, we made a deal that I would help them get soccer balls if they would clear terrain and save money for shoes. They thought this was very fair. I would suggest that you think of creating an association of the members of the team whereby they all give an agreed-upon amount of money every month to be part of the team (they all gain income from some kind of agricultural work), and this money can be used to purchase balls. (The balls will likely be the Chinese ones, but there's really no way around that.)

Whew! I hope I answered your question. If not, feel free to post follow-up questions :)

6/10/2008 8:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you are willing to learn to dance with the help of online dance lessons, than you can avail dance video and easy to follow dance instruction dvd. For more online dance sites you can visit :

8/01/2009 7:02 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home