Iragena Leandre doesn’t know his exact birthday, but his mother knows she was harvesting sorghum, so we guess it was August 1993, a few months before the genocide began. Leandre’s family (he has seven brothers and sisters) are subsistence farmers: they live only from the food they grow on their land.
Things didn’t start well: born at a time of incredible devastation and upheaval in Rwanda, he suffered malnutrition as a child, recovering fully only when he was 16. None of this got in the way of Leandre’s determination and intelligence. His teachers recognised his potential and he was selected for support by a small charity which paid his school fees. That’s the only push he needed to succeed. He went on to win a scholarship to study Zoology and Conservation at the National University of Rwanda.
He now puts his knowledge to good use by training our guides to share the secrets of Rwanda’s astonishing flora and fauna. His fascination with the mountain gorillas and Rwanda's other primates endures, but he also designs mountain biking and hiking tours that take in the most beautiful of the 1000 hills while staying off the beaten track.
“I’m really proud to be working for a social enterprise in tourism. I’m learning what it takes to run a small business and I’m glad that the taxes we pay are contributing to the growth of my country, schools and roads. Rwanda cannot be dependent on charity money forever. Mostly, I’m proud that I can support my parents: my salary pays for the school fees of my young brothers and sisters and I am sure they have enough to eat”
Email us now to plan your visit to Rwanda. Leandre responds to guest emails and he’ll be happy to tell you more.
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