A: I grew up in the Northern region, not far from the lodge but now I travel to Uganda quite a lot to all of the other Volcanoes lodges for work. In 1989 I also travelled to Belgium as a trainee surveyor for 9 months – it was far too cold! I know that I will always live in Rwanda though.
Q: Did you always want to be a surveyor? Is it a family trade?
A: Growing up I always liked practical jobs and at school I loved mathematics. I wanted to do something that combined both of those things. At the age of 22 I started work as a trainee surveyor. My father was a businessman so it doesn’t run in the family, but I was lucky because my father was always very supportive of me.
Q: How did you come to work at Volcanoes Safaris?
A: Before working for Volcanoes I was working with the government service. Then in 2003 I met Praveen in Ruhengeri by chance and he contracted me to build a road to the plot where Virunga now sits. The contract was for one month. After that, I started working full-time and we started to build Virunga Lodge.
Q: Is the lodge very different now, ten years on?
A: There have been a lot of changes over the years. We started with just two bandas. We were experimenting with the building techniques and materials. We have changed the eco-sans toilets to flush toilets, the bathrooms have been upgraded, we now have 10 bandas and the building materials have also changed. We learned a lot over the years – which floor timbers work best, how to make a good roof, how to make the finishing look professional. We have much more experience.
Q: What do you like most about working for VS?
A: I like working for an international company, which lets me travel to different places. I always like going to Uganda and I work very well with the Ugandans when I am there, but Rwanda will always be my home.