Beside every successful man there is woman that will help make him or break him. Also, behind every successful project there are a group of people that will make it or break it. They fix the errors and make sure the show goes on. My last project “Real Friends” had a someone special that helped me turn my vision into a reality. Ndayishimye Jean Bosco or Mr. Cow for short.
Bosco was born in Kinihira Rwanda. It is a small town located North of the capital Kigali. Due to the dynamics of life, he spent his childhood learning the skills to become a shepherd. From the ages of 5 to 13 he would spend his days shadowing other shepherds. This took the place of attending school. By the age of 13 Bosco was the family shepherd. He spent the next four years tending the family’s cattle day and night.
Being a shepherd is a very labor-intensive job. By the time Bosco would finish working there was little time to meet up with friends and socialize. Therefore, he grew to appreciate the company of the cattle during the long days in the fields. One day while herding the cattle Bosco noticed a schoolgirl. He knew they couldn’t be friends if he was a shepherd. That is when she became his motivation to quit the life of shepherd and attend school. Women cannot change a man’s life by loving him, but men will change their life if they love a woman.
Bosco quit his job as a shepherd and started attending school. As he began to make friends, and they found out he used to be a shepherd. Over time he got the nickname Mr. Cow because cows are his favorite animals. Eventually Mr. Cow became friends with the schoolgirl and had the opportunity to date her for a short period of time. By then his motivation to attend school changed for a greater purpose.
Mr. Cow began to learn the importance of a formal education. He enjoyed math class and learning to speak English. (He calls me from time to time on Facebook to chat and catch up). Attending school opened his eyes to a new world and offered him a chance to visit Silverton, Colorado in 2012. A small group of students from his school (Rwamagana Lutheran South) would be selected to visit Silverton Middles school. The students had to write an essay and answer questions to be selected. Mr. Cow wasn’t confident in his writing skills and thought he had no chance of being selected. To his surprise he was one of the students that got selected.
They spent one month and six days in Silverton, Co. It was his first time leaving his country as well as flying on a plane. He was scared but excited for what the trip had in store. While in Silverton he learned about American history, hiked Silverton Mountain, (first time seeing now) and taught the students about the history of Rwanda. During the trip his favorite activity was spending time at the swimming pool.
Mr. Cow and I crossed paths in the summer of 2015. It was my senior year of college and I accepted an offer to be a part of small group that would travel to Rwanda and Tanzania with Humanity for Children. While we were in Rwanda, we spent 3 days at Rwamagana Lutheran South interacting with the students and professors. I was astonished when I learned they did not have textbooks in their native language. Therefore, they were learning English/French while learning complex subjects like calculus and chemistry in English or French.
Once I left Rwanda, Mr. Cow and I stayed in contact. Once he graduated from Rwamagana Lutheran South, he wanted to start a business, but he needed money or ways to make money. He came to me with multiple business ideas. At the time I had just started my project and needed someone to edit my blogs. I decided to pay him to edit the blog, and that would help fund his business adventures.
Since then, Mr. Cow had a successfully rabbitary, then sold all his rabbits to start piggery which he believes will be more profitable in the future. He sends me update on the business along with pictures of the progress. He plans on making the piggery a family business so he can focus on other business ideas. He has hopes of becoming a successful businessman that travels the world.
Mr. Cow believes if he would have continued his life as shepherd, he would not be the person he is today. In his words “Being shepherd was not an easy life. I think I would be a thief someone who drinks, other anything else. I think I would be someone who is bad not someone who is good.” He is grateful he made the decision to change his life.
These days Mr. Cow spends his time between tending to his pigs and gardening at Rwamagana Lutheran South. Mr. Cow is a humble man from simple beginnings. Life has taught him you struggle and have to fight for the things you want. The main lesson he has learned is that you need people to be successful. Without people he would not have gone to school. Without people he would not have been able to start his business.
He welcomes you to visit Rwanda. “People should know that Rwanda is a safe country for travelers. It is a country that welcomes foreigners. It is a country with high development. It’s a country of unity.” Rwanda has turned its troubled past into a bright future. Make a trip to the Land of Hills. You won’t regret it.