Staff of the Month Q&A: A Conversation With Solomon Makuza

Staff Member of the Month for March 2018: Solomon Makuza, GHI Country Director

  Solomon plays with Benja, a child enrolled in GHI's Early Childhood Development Program, during GHI's January 2018 Umuganda Day.

Solomon plays with Benja, a child enrolled in GHI's Early Childhood Development Program, during GHI's January 2018 Umuganda Day.

Solomon Makuza is the Country Director at GHI. He started working with us in March 2014. He enjoys working with GHI's diverse programs, all of which share the aim of solving childhood malnutrition in Rwanda. Solomon explains more about himself in the interview below!

Where are you from originally?

I was born in Uganda but raised and grew up in Rwanda for all my life.

What is your favorite vegetable?

Carrots.  

Do you have any hobbies outside of work?

Sure, I love jogging, I do hang out with friends and family a lot, I also do love playing basketball though it’s moved from being occasionally having limited time.

How did you start working at GHI?

I started working for Gardens for Health in 2014 in March. Before that, actually, I had came over to the farm in 2012 with a friend, and later there was actually a job offer that I applied for. I got to the finals as a candidate but they were looking for a different skills set, which was mainly accounting, so that didn’t go through well. I went back again in 2014 and they had an offer of a program manager. I applied and went though the interview process, and I was humbled and privileged to get an offer here.

  Solomon helps create an Earth Enable floor during GHI's October 2017 Umuganda Day.

Solomon helps create an Earth Enable floor during GHI's October 2017 Umuganda Day.

What is your favorite part about working at GHI?

Almost everything; I would say everything. But particularly I would say attending trainings, it’s something that reminds me of why we do what we do, connecting with families, dancing with them, sharing especially at graduation, that’s it. But also I have to say I love to go to home visits as well, I really do enjoy being in a mother’s home, talking to them, opening up, sharing with them, and most important getting feedback because we are always asking them what could we do differently and what are their thoughts about our program. Not surprisingly, mothers always have rich feedback that we need to build on in our program.

Tell us a GHI story about something that impacted you - it could be something from a training or enrollment, a Turi Kumwe case, something that happened on the farm, anything!

It’s a story that I would pick from a home visit. It was one time when I had gone in a home visit, I believe it was in Gashaki, a health center in Musanze. It was lunchtime and I got to a family, they had just finished lunch. There was this little sweet kid who was around 3 to 4-years-old. He came out running, we hugged, and then the mother came into the house and we started a conversation about everything, and I saw all of our training materials posted. When we were having a conversation I asked her, “Tell me, what did you eat today?” The mother said, “We ate all the four colors, you know, white, brown, green.” Then the little boy said, “But mom, you know we missed a color, we didn’t eat from the orange color.” To me, it was such a very deep story and also a testimony to the trainings that the knowledge we provide to mothers actually has an impact; it goes far beyond the participants to the family members, to relatives, neighbors, and to the larger community.

What is one thing your co-workers might not know about you?

I do martial arts. It’s a form of different trainings, I practice often and no one knows about it.

Anything you’d like to add?

I just really want to commend every GHI team member for their commitment, dedication, for doing whatever it takes to make sure that we are doing the best in terms of reducing child malnutrition. I want them to know that they inspire me a lot; every day, every month, every year. The energy that keeps my soul running is to see the amazing team that I work with. And to tell them to keep doing their good work.

Translation by Redempta Asifiwe, Photos by Maggie Andresen

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Ibibazo n’ibisubizo hamwe n’umukozi w’ukwezikwa Gatatu 2018: Ikiganiro twagiranye na Solomon Makuza, Umuyobozi Mukuru.

  Solomon akina na Benja, umwana uba muri gahunda y'Umurima w'Ubuzima muri Gahunda yo Kwita ku Bana Bakiri Bato, ku Munsi w'Umuganda w'Umurima w'Ubuzima wo muri Mutarama 2018.

Solomon akina na Benja, umwana uba muri gahunda y'Umurima w'Ubuzima muri Gahunda yo Kwita ku Bana Bakiri Bato, ku Munsi w'Umuganda w'Umurima w'Ubuzima wo muri Mutarama 2018.

Solomon Makuza ni Umuyobozi Mukuru w’Umurima w’Ubuzima. Yatangiye gukorana natwe muri Werurwe 2014 kugeza ubu. Yishimira gukora muri gahundaz’Umurima w’Ubuzima zitandukanye, zose zigambiriye gukemura ikibazo cy’imirire mibi y’abana mu Rwanda. Solomon yivugaho byinshi kuri we mu kiganiro gikurikira!

Ukomoka hehe?

Navukiye muri Uganda ariko narerewe nananurira mu Rwanda ubuzima bwanjye bwose.

Ni uruhe ruboga ukunda?

Karoti.

Hari ibinndi bintu ukunda gukora bitari mu kazi?

Yego, nkunda kwiruka, ngamarana umwanya n’inshuti n’umuryango cyane, ndetse nkunda no gukina basket nubwo kenshi mba ntafite umwanya uhagije wo kubikora.

Ni gute watangiye gukora mu Murima w’Ubuzima?  

Natangiye gukora mu Murima w’Ubuzima muri 2014, Werurwe. Mbere yaho, nigeze kuza hano mu murima nzanye n’inshuti yanjye, noneho nyuma baza gushaka gutanga akazi. Naragasabye ngira n’amahirwe yo ku cyiciro cya nyuma cyo guhitamo umukozi, ariko byagaragaye ko bashakaga ubumenyi runaka bujyanjye n’icungamari; ubwo rero ntibyampiriye maze nsubirayo. Na none nyuma yaho muri 2014, bashakaga umukozi ukora nk’uyobora gahunda zose (Umuyobozi Mukuru), nsaba ako kazi bankoresha n’ikizamini mu buryo bw’ikiganiro, maze ngirirwa ubuntu mbona ako kazi hano.

  Solomon afasha gukora isima ya Earth Enable" ku Munsi w'Umuganda w'Umurima w'Ubuzima mu Kwakira 2017.

Solomon afasha gukora isima ya Earth Enable" ku Munsi w'Umuganda w'Umurima w'Ubuzima mu Kwakira 2017.

Ni iki ukunda cyane mu gukora mu Murima w’Ubuzima?

Byose! Navuga byose, arko by’umwihariko, nkunda kujya mu mahugurwa kuko binyibutsa impamvu dukora ibyo dukora, dushyikirana n’imiryango, tukabyinana na bo, tugasangira cyane cyane mu birori byo kurangiza amasomo yabo, ni ibyo. Ariko no kujya gusura ingo ndabikunda cyane; nkunda kuba mu rugo rw’umubyeyi, tubaganiriza, dusangira, kandi ikirenze ibyo, bagira icyo bavuga ku byo dukora kuko tuba tubaza icyo twahindura mu mikorere yacu, mbese icyo babitekerezaho. Abo babyeyi na bo, buri gihe baba bafite icyo kuvuga ku byo dukora kandi icyo ni cyo tuba dukeneye ngo duteze imbere gahunda zacu.

Tubwire inkuru y’icyaba cyaragukoze ku mutima - gishobora kuba ikintu kimwe wabonye mwasuye urugo, mu mahugurwa cyangwa igihe mwandikaga abinjiye muri gahunda z’Umurima w’Ubuzima, ikintu cyabaye cyerekerenye na Turikumwe, cyangwa icyabereye mu murima; icyo ari cyo cyose!

Ni inkuru navuga y’igihe twari twasuye urugo rumwe, ndumva ari igihe twari twagiye Gashaki, Ikigo Nderabuzima cy’i Musanze. Tugezeyo, hari mu gihe cyo gufata ifunguro rya saa sita ariko twasanze bamaze kurya. Hari umwana mwiza rero wari mu kigero cy’imyaka 3 cyangwa 4, yaje yiruka ndamuhobera, hanyuma nyina aza mu nzu na we ngo tuganire, kandi ubwo narebaga ku nkuta zo mu nzu, hari impapuro ziriho amasomo twabigishije zihamanitse. Ubwo twaganiraga rero naramubajije nti, “Ngaho mbwira, mwariye iki uyu munsi?” Uwo mubyeyi aransubiza ati, “Twariye amabara ane yose, urumva, umweru, ikijuju, icyatsi.” Hanyuma wa mwana w’umuhungu ahita avuga ati, “Ariko mama, hari ibara tutariye, ntabwo twariye ibara rya orange." Iyo nkuru ntiyankoze ku mutima cyane gusa ahubwo yanambereye igihamya ko ubumenyi duha ababyeyi ari ingirakamaro koko; kandi ko burenga imbibi z’abiga gusa bukamenyekana no mu miryango yabo, abavandimwe, abaturanyi, na kominote batuyemo muri rusange.

Ni ikihe kintu abo mukorana batakuziho?

Nkina umukino witwa “martial”, ni umukino ubamo imyitozo myinshi itandukanye kandi nkunda kuwitoza kenshi cyane; nta numwe ubizi mu bo dukorana.

Hari icyo wakongeraho?

Ndifuza gusa gushimira umukozi wese wo mu Murima w’Ubuzima kubw’umurava n’ubwitange bahorana bakora ibishoboka byose imirire mibi mu bana igabanuke. Ndashaka no kubabwira ko bambera icyitegererezo cyane nkabigiraho buri munsi, buri kwezi, buri mwaka, imbaraga zituma umutima wanjye ukomeza gukora ni uko mbona itsinda ryiza ritangaje nkorana na ryo. Ndifuza no kubabwira ngo bakomeze bakore neza mu kazi kabo.

Byashyizwe mu Kinyarwanda na Redempta Asifiwe, Amafoto na Maggie Andresen