Bringing Back Rwanda’s Trees

We are so proud of the Wilderness Rwanda team, who celebrated their commitment to the reforestation of Bisate and Gishwati with a milestone 100,000 indigenous trees planted as of end February 2023.

Let us take a look behind the scenes and shine the spotlight on the team who made this achievement happen!

Jean-Moise Habimana

Jean-Moise Habimana is from the local Bisate community in Rwanda and is our agronomist at Wilderness Bisate. He has played an integral role in driving Bisate’s pioneering reforestation project, planting trees long before Bisate was even built, and today he and his team have proudly planted more than 80,000 trees – and counting!

When Jean-Moise joined the Wilderness family he spoke little English, but this changed when Wilderness hired an English teacher to train staff. Jean Moise enthusiastically joined in and his dream is to keep learning and developing his skills, inspired by His Excellency, the President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame.

Jean-Moise loves sharing the story of Bisate’s reforestation, and he looks forward to each Bisate guest joining his team to plant a sapling during their stay at the lodge. Each new young tree plays its part in the ongoing restoration of the site into indigenous forest.

Jimmy Nsengimama

Jimmy hails from the local Bisate community and began his Wilderness career as part of the construction team building the lodge. His hard work and dedication did not go unnoticed and Wilderness welcomed him on board with a permanent role in the reforestation team. Passionate about conservation he progressed to Bisate Guide, where he gets to share his knowledge with guests while guiding them along the nature trails and discussing the positive impact of the reforestation initiative. When he is not busy contributing to Rwanda’s reforestation, he enjoys spending time with his family. He is inspired by nature and enjoys working outdoors and learning about the trees and bird species in the area. One of Jimmy’s highlights is when golden monkeys venture onto Bisate’s grounds.

Gabriel Ndahayo

Passionate about conservation, Gabriel grew up close to Bisate and has been a valuable member of the seasonal reforestation team for the past few years. His broad smile and hard work led to his being offered a full-time position at Wilderness Bisate in 2019. He is very proud of his Rwandan culture and enjoys music and dancing. Mushroom pizza is a favourite, as is listening to gospel music and seeing his family. He dreams of visiting South Africa.

Ezechiel Bangankira

As one of the elders in Bisate’s team, Ezechiel is greatly respected as a calm leader within their community. Joining the reforestation team was a dream come true for Ezechiel, something he had always aspired to, so that he could personally contribute to conservation. When at home he enjoys spending time with his family and friends, and listening to traditional Rwandan music. He would one day like to visit their neighbouring country, Uganda. His biggest inspiration is Jean Pierre, Bisate’s Assistant Manager, for his ability to focus on and achieve his goals, always with a smile on his face.

Beatrice Nyiransabimana

In partnership with Wilderness, Beatrice Nyiransabimana, the Forest of Hope (FHA) agronomist, has developed a successful nursery just outside of Gishwati Forest, growing and facilitating the planting of around 20,000 indigenous saplings, which are now independent of care. Beatrice grew up in Rwambeho, a small village situated very close to Gishwati Forest and the Forest of Hope Guest House and Camp Site. Being part of the team effort to reach the milestone 100,000 trees planted makes her very proud, as she sees it as a way to assist the environment and the community. Most of the people in the community support Beatrice and are happy for her. “Even though some say agronomist should be the job for a man, I am showing them a woman can do it too”, notes Beatrice.