Rwebandira’s 27 Hours of Your Sweet Memories

The end of this video gives me goosebumps.

The words are spoken by Festo Karwemera, the Bakiga cultural warrior who passed away last year…

Karwemera nicknamed me Rwebandira two decades ago, after knowing me for only a short time. Yet he couldn’t have been more prescient… He translated the name for me as a “trailblazer” or “somebody who doesn’t stop in front of the bush but cuts his way through it”. Nowadays, the common interpretation is a “rebel”.

All very true. And this character of mine is pretty much on display in the video… When I look back, I wish I hadn’t blazed my trail through some of the jungles it mentions. I wish I had stayed on the motorway more regularly because it would have taken me further.

Let’s hope some lessons have been learned in the process. At the end of the day, I was 27 when I began this journey and I am 47 now. I must have matured on the way a bit. Right? Riiiiiiiight?

The “window to Africa” ending was helpfully added to my script by Jon Lee in California, the narrator.  I am also grateful to David Esteban in Argentina who advised me on the slide design, and to my team in Uganda who have located and scanned some historical images.

The rest was a lonely labour of love, full 27 (!) hours of it. It is based on the slides I have been using to induct our volunteers for too many years; this project started because Rwanda’s lockdown has stopped me from being with our fresh interns at Lake Bunyonyi. It’s soon going to be a year since I last stepped into Uganda — my motherland less than an hour away from where I live.

My hope is that the video brings back some sweet memories to the people who have helped me build Edirisa and Gorilla Highlands. Thank you, Global Team.

photo of Tom Karemire by Marcus Westberg


  1. Thanks for creating this fantastic video Miha. It was very interesting to follow your journey. I learned a lot! I confess I felt a bit emotional too. In a good way! LOL.
    Most explanations were very clear however I did get a little lost on the section about Edirisa UK / student entertainment centre at the university. (I couldn’t hear Jon’s exact words). However, I’m not sure that it matters since it was only a couple of lines. Next you explain that you are ‘doing too many things’ and what Edirisa now is, which is super simple. Thus any earlier confusion is now addressed / answered.
    I like the way you show the Edirisa window graphics – simple and powerful. I loved seeing the kids in the window frame. The video of the window opening and revealing the lake works very well too. Fascinating to see early construction of Edirisa! (And who is that young man with the shaved head?!)
    Minor comments:
    Early in presentation you outline the pillars of GH. I didn’t like the image to the left of the screen. (Perhaps we were looking at it for too long while Jon is talking?)
    Batwa. This is a term you commonly use. How do Rwandans feel about this? Does this affect how RDB will work with you / endorse GH etc? Won’t some Rwandan partners be put off by the use of this word?
    The photograph of the children in your natural swimming pool should be printed ‘life-size’ so you can wallpaper your office with it!
    I like the phrase ‘what our partners can do for travellers’. That gets make me excited about future developments
    Superb work!

    1. Thank you for all the feedback, Charlotte! Will be addressed in the final version of the video that goes public by 20/2… Now, Batwa… Out of the three countries of our region, two officially call them like that and adding a special disclaimer to address Rwanda’s complexities sounds like an unnecessary distraction.

      1. Well, instead of a new version I made a summarised one eventually (the second Weekly Companion) but the original might also receive some love one peaceful day…

  2. Spet se bom oglasila s slovensko besedo. Video me je navdušil in spomnil na preteklost, ko sem tudi sama bila del tega vidika življenja. In še vedno me spominja na nekaj tako pristnega, tako edinstvenega, da nikoli ne bo utonilo v pozabo. Zaradi teh trenutkov se mi zdi vredno živeti in skušati še naprej delati v smeri medsebojnega razumevanja. Razumevanja drugačnosti, ne glede na barvo kože in narodnostno pripadnost. Vsi smo člani ene velike družine, ki se ji reče “človeštvo”, čeprav v to besedo včasih podvomim.

  3. So inspiring, Miha!
    Really nice video following your development and different initiatives over the years!
    Since I haven’t been in the region and personally met with you and your team, I find it particularly useful to get to know little by little your story and ideas.

    P.S. Jon’s voice and narration is great!

    1. I am happy it works for you! It was meant to be rather internal when I embarked on the project but it seems to have a broader appeal. @Jon is a star and I once even received a comment that he sounds too professional for a small organisation like ours, ha ha.

  4. This is such an AMAZING journey! You go @Rwebandira !!!!
    @Nagawa I felt emotional as well, not “a bit” – too much ha ha! Indeed sweet memories, I am sure some of these feel like just yesterday to some

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