Alison, an All Across Africa intern originally from France, writes about her experience interning for us in Kigali, Rwanda!
Hello! My name is Alison Cabaret and I have been an intern in the All Across Africa office in Kigali, Rwanda for more than two months now. My internship is scheduled to end after one more month and I do not want to see the end of this adventure.
As part of my Master’s in International Business, the choice of my final internship was crucial. I wanted it to be challenging and inspiring. Because I had never been to Africa before, I did not know exactly what to expect. I am delighted to have landed in a welcoming and beautiful country with remarkable people.
I found the grail in AAA.
The atmosphere in the office is warm and gratifying. Everyone is very patient and attentive. At every Monday staff meeting, we all sit together and share what we did the past week and what challenges there are for the next. Thus, our tasks are well defined and I’ve learned that we all want to be team players.
I especially love that in this internship I am tasked with multiple, interesting projects at once. I’m working on projects that are in line with my university studies, such as supporting the finance and accounting department of the Kigali office.
I am also getting the opportunity to see every aspect of this Benefit Corporation grow through various projects. For example, we are currently trying to implement a dye process for the paper beads in Uganda. I really enjoy doing the preliminary research and sharing my ideas with others in the field.
During many of my days I am working with the weavers. I get to meet their friends, their children, and hear their stories. I particularly remember the testimony of Cristilla when we went to Dyimana. It is just one of the compelling stories of the heroes that we are working with.
I see how hard the members of AAA are working in Rwanda to send these beautiful handmade products to the US. Knowing I am working for this great cause gives me the energy to always try to work harder. This internship has been empowering, challenging and exciting all at the same time. I’ve learned to be proactive and help as much as I can.
In addition to this outstanding work experience, living in Kigali is very stimulating and exciting. Kigali, known as ‘The land of a thousand hills,’ is breathtaking in its beauty. We are living in another culture, with a different rhythm and a vibrant atmosphere.
My internship is not yet over, but I can affirm that I have already learned that there are some things that years of university study cannot compensate for. My internship has shown me that theory is far different from practice, especially where human relationships are concerned. Since human beings are all so different, there is just no possible way in which all circumstances and situations can be treated similarly.
This experience is evidence that change is possible. I see how many people are committed to supporting rural and marginalized communities in East Africa and it brings hope. I’m happy, proud, and thankful to contribute to these sustainable projects that effectively change the lives of these men and women.