The long distance runner is a special type of person, manifesting extreme dedication with incredible mental fortitude and physical endurance. At Village Health Works (VHW) we have two marathon runners in our midst who have these characteristics. Peter Ndikumana and Nestor “Mandela” Nimbona are currently training hard in the Kigutu “hills” for their first marathon, The International Peace Marathon in Kigali, Rwanda on May 23, 2010.
Peter “IT”, 32, has been employed at VHW since September 2008 and wears several hats. He is involved with information technology (hence the “IT” added to his name), manages inventory control, helps maintain the solar panels and the battery storage. He has been a drummer since childhood and now co-leads the Kigutu Drummers with Mandela. He is eager to fulfill his life-long dream to run in a marathon, as running has always been a passion for him. He loves the challenge of training and wants to see how he “measures up” in a competitive field. He’s excited to run for peace and justice.
Mandela, 31, a VHW employee for three years, has been working part time in the kitchen as well as being in charge of laundry services. He has been drumming since he was eight years old and has been abroad to France and Japan on tour with a professional Burundian troupe. When his group greeted Nelson Mandela’s plane on a visit to Burundi, Nelson Mandela came up to him and took his imirisho (sticks) and began drumming. Mandela was so impressed and inspired by him, as well as having a similar Christian name (Nelson/Nestor), he decided to take “Mandela” as an additional name.
Both Peter and Mandela are terrific role models for the children of Kigutu, leading and teaching the drumming circles three afternoons a week. When they aren’t working or drumming, they are in the hills of Kigutu preparing for the marathon in Kigali. Everyone from Kigutu and VHW friends from around the world will be cheering them on.