Moses Kirenzi is a freelance tour guide and Chairman of the Rwanda Safari Guides Association (RWASAGA). He tells Moses Opobo about his worst day as a tour guide, and their place in the country’s tourism sector…
What is RWASAGA’s mandate?
The objective of the association is to have more professional tour guides so that we can achieve our mission of client satisfaction for all tourists.
We formed in order to have a platform that would help all guides in the country to have spirit and sensitise them about tourism. This is still a new industry, hence the need to harness our activities under one umbrella. We aim to train guides so they are specialists in cultural tourism.
We are also encouraging our sisters to participate because so far we only have one female guide in the association and it would be better to have more. We also want to encourage young boys and girls in school to take up guiding as a career choice.
When and why did you become a tour guide?
That was in 2007. Before that, I had worked as an office assistant in a tour and travel company. That is where I picked the interest in becoming a driver guide.
As a tour guide I consider myself as an ambassador of Rwanda’s tourism industry. Guiding is a very important aspect of tourism in that a guide can change the negative mindset that a tourist has about a particular tour destination. In Rwanda’s case, the country is known worldwide for the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, but it is our role as guides to present the other positive aspects about the country.
What do you find empowering about your job?
First, it’s a serious job contrary to what many people think. It’s a professional job that requires training. One must be informed and knowledgeable on current affairs within and beyond one’s network because you meet different categories of people all the time.
As I give out information to tourists, I also get to learn a lot from them because I get people from all backgrounds and nationality. As a guide I learn something new everyday, so my knowledge is not limited to only the tourism sector.
Most memorable experience on the job?
I drove a group of tourists to some hotel after a day of touring, only to find the hotel already overbooked. It was a communication problem. My clients were very angry with me, and others even became aggressive. We eventually settled it by booking them elsewhere.