Books are whispers of the past heard well into the future. Lydie Hakizimana opened her bookstore Drakkar Ltd. in Nyarutarama, Mountain Center in Kigali, Rwanda three years ago. Lydia sells new and used books with an emphasis on educational material and text books for students at the local schools and universities. With the return to academics for many Rwandans, Lydia has a created a welcome niche.
However, as much as the genocide is over, the lingering results are a collective ambition for survival, success and deeper faith, which is reflected in the recommended Lydia’s current reading list.
The top books are:
Lydia, wife and mother of two daughters, delights in reading. As much as she loves to travel literally, she loves to read books, which allow her to travel through her imagination to different parts of the world. Lydia said, “It’s a way to learn so many things without leaving your house.” Her all time favorite book is La Cite de la Joie by Dominique Lapierre. In between, she has read most of the novels written by her favorite American authors Mary Higgins Clark and Robert Ludlum.
She recalls being taught how to read by her mother and reading her first book L’Enfant Noir by Camara Laye in French at Les Etoiles Brilliantes a primary school in Chad. Her mother was in charge teaching literature at home and her father was in charge of teaching science.
She recently participated in the Peace Through Business program of the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women with a mentorship in St. Louis, Missouri. Through professional mentoring, she hopes to expand her business to include events for local authors and with the business community sponsor academic texts for students in need. Her dream is to open libraries in schools and hospitals throughout Rwanda to share the joy of reading.
By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, DC
Imagine the results if students today were encouraged to read the classics of the world. The New York Times is reporting on a new trend to allow students to select the literature of their choice. I hope we give the students a broad list to choose from.