Q&A with Aline Joyce Berabose of Kigali, Rwanda who attended the 2014 Global Youth Forum.
What was it like growing up there?
I was brought up in harsh conditions. I was born in a refugee camp and violent conflicts were abundant in my region.
Tell me something interesting about your home town/country.
Rwanda is home of the giant mountain gorillas.
How did you get involved with PTPI?
As I was searching the internet for information to support my argument a day before a debate competition, and the PTPI website came up. I was inspired by the mission and activities and decided to apply for one of its programs.
What is your most memorable PTPI experience?
My participation in the Global Youth Forum in November 2014
What has surprised you most about PTPI?
To learn that it was founded by a former U.S. president
Tell me about the connections you have made through PTPI
. I met some members of PTPI clubs in Rwanda. I am also in touch with friends I met at the GYF by social media. The staff members in Kansas City are very friendly and keeps me updated on PTPI activities and opportunities worldwide.
What is your favorite quote?
“As I walked out the door toward the gate that would lead to my freedom, I knew if I didn’t leave my bitterness and hatred behind, I would still be in prison.” - Nelson Mandela
What does a peaceful world look like in your mind?
In my mind, a peaceful world is free from wars, civil unrest, and terrorism in all nations. Cross-cultural movements are popular and multicultural learning exchange is promoted and encouraged as differences on faith, culture, and race are celebrated. Internal misunderstanding and global security issues are raised time to time but they are resolved by dialogue at the very basic levels.
What food or dish best represents you or your culture?
I would say ugali
(cassava or corn) served with isombe
(mashed cassava leaves) and dried fish.
Tell me about a time you experienced a different culture. How did that affect you? What were come of the challenges?
While in the UK last year, I realized that one needs to open or keep the door open for the person behind him/her. It is something I had never experienced before so I had to adapt quickly and check if a person was behind me each time I went through a door as I did not want to seem rude.
Tell me about your family’s culture. Do have any traditions?
How have they shaped your identity? There is no particular culture associated with my family but traditions for the whole Rwandan community in general.
I can give a few examples:
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- As a sign of respect, you need to use both hands when greeting an older person or an authority.
- When you find yourself in a family, whether they are friends or not, they offer you food or a drink which you cannot refuse. It is way of telling they are happy for you being there, you are supposed to eat or drink even if you don’t want it J
- There has been a popular ceremony called “Kwita Izina” which consists of naming a newborn on the 8th day from the birthday. Anyone in the village can take part and there is enough food and drinks for the occasion. Kwita Izina is also associated with Gorilla naming ceremony which takes place each year to give names to newborn babe gorillas. It has become an international event.
- To be able to marry, a man needs to be able to give offerings to the bride’s family. They can be money or a cow and other gifts. The quality depends greatly on the bride’s education or even the reputation of both families.