They were supposed to arrive in October 2022 but since the German Embassy in Kigali did not issue visas to any of our volunteers, we had to go the route of remonstration for them in order to obtain travel clearance from the German government’s representation in Rwanda with documented arguments. A report by Michael Liebler.

04.01.2023. The process of remonstration was agonizingly long, kept us on tenterhooks for almost another year and entailed further work, as all the contracts with the parties involved had to be signed again. All the greater the joy that it worked out after all and the four volunteers from Rwanda: Hodia, Rehema, Justin and Placide were able to take the plane to Stuttgart. Michael Liebler and Eveline Umutoni were ready to welcome the new arrivals. It hardly mattered that Turkish Airlines was almost five hours late on arrival on October 1 and that we were only able to start our welcome seminar at ABZ-Untertürkheim shortly before midnight.

The seminar program was then tightly packed and intensive, as the volunteers had to learn the most important facts about their voluntary service, but also about Germany and its cultural peculiarities in three days. Birgit Steffan, who is responsible for the administration of the South-North program at Friends of Rwanda, provided a lot of valuable information about the start of the volunteer service with all its new requirements. Pauline Häberle and Valerie Wezel were there as mentors and presented the support that the four mentors would like to provide. They also helped with the registration of a new German SIM card. Eveline Umutoni, who has been in Germany for more than a year, reported on her experiences and prepared the newcomers for the challenges that inevitably arise when moving to new cultural territory. The prospective volunteers were particularly grateful for this.