Intore Dance Troupe
The VSPT has been working with the Intore Dance Troupe at the Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in Rwanda since 2004. The group is made up of 24 dancers and two dance trainers.
The troupe perform the traditional Rwandan ballet called The Intore, also known as “The Heroes” for Volcanoes Safaris guests, which is based on the courtly victory dance of the Rwandan Mwami (kings). Being selected as an Intore in times of old was a great honour – they would receive a privileged education, intensive combat training and they held a high status within the court. Today, the dancers use traditional weapons such as spears and bows and wear brightly coloured clothes and long flowing white hairpieces.
In 2013, the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust started a mushroom-growing project at Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge in northern Rwanda. The long-term aim of the project is to provide a livelihood for low income families from the Sunzu, Nyagatoki and Bugeyo villages neighbouring the lodge.
The group has started growing oyster mushrooms in the specially designed hut constructed on Volcanoes Safaris land. The group plan to diversify into growing button mushrooms. The mushrooms are sold to the community and to Volcanoes Safaris, who serve the fresh mushrooms to Virunga Lodge guests.
In 2013 the VSPT started a new project of keeping bees at the Volcanoes Safaris Virunga Lodge in Rwanda. This was adapted from the project already in place in Kyambura, which has proved incredibly successful in providing honey and reducing human-wildlife conflict. The VSPT has allocated a plot of land near the lodge where 11 colonized beehives are located. Interested guests staying at the lodge are able to take a tour of the hives to see how the honey is grown and harvested. Five local beekeepers participate in this project and each has contributed one traditional beehive with a bee colony.
In collaboration with the Sunzu village members, the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust and Volcanoes Safaris have helped facilitate the funding and erection of a 2.7km power line through Kinoni village and Virunga Lodge, bringing electricity to 63 local families for the very first time.
Since 1959 the Ntaruka Hydro Power Station has been providing electricity to the communities surrounding the twin lakes, Bulera and Ruhonda, which can be seen from Virunga Lodge. Today, with the generous contributions from Volcanoes Safaris and the VSPT, the dream of having electricity in the Nkenke village has become a reality.