Rwanda has a day for community work and you will find it difficult to travel within the morning hours of this day. The morning of the last Saturday of every month is dedicated to community service and is referred to as ‘Umuganda’, meaning community service.
The word Umuganda can be translated as ‘coming together in common purpose to achieve an outcome’. In traditional Rwandan culture, members of the community would call upon their family, friends and neighbours to help them complete a difficult task.
This is an initiative started by the Rwandan Government whereby everybody is expected to devote some time to their local community by cleaning the streets, cutting grass verges, repairing dirt roads, or any other locally organized activity which contributes to community development.
Although international visitors are not required to participate in Umuganda, some tour operators can organize for tourists to participate in Umuganda and give back to the local community.
If you are in Rwanda for Umuganda, it is worth knowing that it is happening as it may impact your plans for the morning. The streets are very quiet, even in Kigali, many shops are closed and public transport does not run until after midday. If it can be avoided, it is advisable not to be on the road during Umuganda till afternoon.