Sandrine was born in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). She attended Canyonville Christian Academy in Oregon for her final two years of high school. The school was an international school comprised of approximately 300 students who represented 17 different countries. Her home is in the town of Kicukiro, Rwanda, which is about three miles from the capital.

Interesting Facts about Rwanda:

•The capital city of Rwanda is Kigali.

•The languages spoken are Kinyarwanda, French and some Swahili.The area of Rwanda is approximately 26,333 square kilometers. This is roughly the size of Maryland, which has an area of 32,133 square kilometers.

•Most people do not realize that Rwandans have reconciled peacefully with each other, victims and perpetrators alike. This is an accomplishment that sometimes is not thought about in great depth. It has created in Rwandans a strong sense of community and nationality.

•The Rwandan Parliament has the highest percentage of female governmental representatives in the world.Women occupy 44 of the 80 seats in Parliament.

•Rwanda is home to the silverback mountain gorillas, which are the most endangered of the gorilla subspecies.

What is considered one of the most significant customs or celebrations in Rwanda?

We do not have a significant or pivotal custom per se; rather we very much value tradition in our country. During weddings, birth ceremonies, ceremonial rites of passage and graduations, it is common for Rwandans to adorn themselves in cultural clothing, dance to cultural songs and celebrate our history as a united people.

What is your favorite food and drink from Rwanda?

My favorite food is ugali and isombe. Ugali is made out of maize flour and cooked over the stove as a sort of cake. Isombe is type of vegetable.

What are some of the most popular places to visit in Rwanda?

A visit to the Virunga Mountains should not be passed by; these mountains are in the highland region and are home to the endangered silverback mountain gorillas. Other popular places to visit are the memorial sites that give insight to Rwanda’s past while also reflecting on the present and the successes that have come about. In particular, one of the famous sites is the Kigali Memorial Center. For beach lovers, a good place to visit would be Gisenyi Beach Resort.

What does a typical day look like for you in Rwanda?

A typical day has 70 to 80 degree sunny weather and radios blaring from different houses in the neighborhood. During my childhood, I would wake up in the early morning and eat a breakfast of fresh avocados and honey from the beehives in the neighborhood with bread and tea. The rest of the day would be spent playing around with neighbor kids and eating fresh fruits (especially guavas) from trees in the neighborhood as afternoon snacks from trees.

Interviewed by Raymond Waweru