Last year, Patrick Gashayiya, alias Ziiro, the hero, made news when he made an epic journey in March. With his bicycle loaded with an adventurer’s pack, he trecked the 30 hilly districts of Rwanda.
In 50 days, with a budget of only Rwf15, 000, braving the hunger and cold nights to complete his mission, he travelled alone, learning about people and the places along the way.
The idea came after he returned from his graduate studies in India and decided that he would set out to achieve his ambition of exploring all corners of his country, in a trip he called the ‘Peace trip 2017’.
“Coming back home I realised how much the city had developed in a short time. I decided that I was going to make my contribution by doing what I have always wanted to do.
My dream was always to be an adventurer and I wanted to start with my country. I decided to follow my heart and I will go beyond Rwanda to other countries. Not so many youths have embraced adventure and this is my way of inspiring them,” he says.
Having made it to the few adventurists that Rwanda has, Gashayija hopes that this new journey will inspire youth and Rwandans to follow their passion.
It was tough and hard but I completed peacefully with very little money. It is all about commitment. I utilised what I had and chose to sleep in tents instead of hotels. I believe that if I can handle what I have then I can do what I want,” Gashayija says.
Gashayija is currently unemployed but he hopes that the adventure trips will go beyond just having fun and earn some income from them.
“I want to be well versed will the places in Rwanda so that I can know the right places to invest. Also, I will be able to help those who do not know the country but have the potential to invest in this country.
I cannot say that I will earn money now but it will eventually come. I can be a good guide to tourists and advertise for people. ”
In May this year, the 29 year-old will embark on another trip ‘Peace Trip 2018’ where he will travel to 416 sectors in Rwanda in 90 days, only, this time round, he will be using a motorbike, courtesy of Rwanda Motorcycle Company (RMC).
“Last year I used a bicycle but RMC agreed to sponsor a motorbike. Before then my limit was time and distance and I was rushing. Because with the little money I had I would end up spending more months.
We do not need a lot of money to achieve our dreams.If I did not use the little energy I had to go out and do something, I would not have gotten sponsor,” he says.
He is an aspiring actor and a graduate in Computer Applications but even with his newly found ‘profession’, Gashayija believes that human beings are created to be multi taskers and that his knowledge of various fields will be of help at a certain stage in his life.
He has another ambition which is to travel to South Africa, crossing the whole of Africa.
“I am inspired by Nelson Mandela because since I was born, I have heard different stories. Even when I travel around Africa, I have to reach Nelson Mandela’s birthplace,” he says.
Shaped by his past
Gashayija was born in Rwanda but his family moved to DRC, when he was six.They returned after seven years but shortly after, his father who was the family’s breadwinner passed away in 1998.
Life never became the same again and, as a young teenager, he was forced to leave home to the city to make a living.
He lived on streets because he could not afford to go back to the conditions he had left at home. The first job he got was as a housekeeper for an Indian man who offered to take him to school at the age of twelve.
“My foster father made me his son and has been my biggest support, up to this day, he is still the one that I look up to for anything. Everything has been about him and has encouraged me to follow my passion,” he says.
He reveals that his past has taught him hard work, perseverance, and self-belief. In fact, it is from his life experience that he derives the name Ziiro (Zero) to hero.
“Street life had deteriorated my self-esteem. I did not imagine that I would go to school but here I am, I can speak some English and I have been exposed to the bigger world. I started my adventure with a bicycle and now I will be able to use a motorbike.
Everyone should be determined to embrace a field that they can do 100 per cent. You have to find yourself wherever you are. The youth need to be inspired by what they like even small things like knowing how to type, can take them places. They need to work hard to break their boundaries,” he advises.