After a study trip with their classmates, Sandrine Bwiza, a finance officer at Imagine We Rwanda, a blogger and writer, together with her friend soon had an unexpected four-day adventure after they were forgotten and left behind. She published a book ‘After the Bus Left’, that tells of the adventure. She shares with Sharon Kantengwa her story and more.
Tell us about the book.
‘After the Bus Left’ is my first book. It’s a personal story about what happened to me when I was 14, I got lost in Nyungwe National park. It was a class trip and my friend and I were left behind.
The book tells the story of how we walked from Nyungwe to Huye, Butare and then had to figure out how to get to Kigali. The most exciting part was the things we saw on the road, the refugee camp, and nature. Although it was a hard journey because it took us four days to reach Butare, it was an adventure and fun for me and my friend.
What inspired you to put your story in a book?
The people I told this story always told me to write about it because it’s funny. That is how I came up with the book. It was inspired by a true event but I didn’t intend to publish the book because it is something that happened in 2009, so every time I told my colleagues the story, they laughed and said it was unbelievable.
Because I work for a publishing house my colleagues pushed me to write the story. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have, because I thought nobody would want to listen to these crazy events. It also took me back to when it happened and I’m getting many good reviews.
Did taking you back to memory lane affect your writing?
I’m a blogger and storyteller and I love reading books to people. But with books, it was the first time and I was taken back. I felt the worry, sadness, hopelessness but it was good to write about it because along the way it became a joke to me and I don’t feel bad anymore.
Being your first book, how was the writing experience like for you?
I have worked with several authors, received manuscripts every day and edited them, as my job. Writing mine, therefore, was not very hard because I know the steps and what a good book looks like. My colleagues also helped with good ideas.
I started writing the book in 2015 but off course you get lazy, feel stuck and take time to edit till it’s perfect, it took me some time. However, it wasn’t like writing it for the first time without experience.
The book launch was an achievement for me. I’m so happy that my story is finally out there. I hope people will enjoy it. You can find it at the Ikirezi library, Imagine We Rwanda office and their app.
Do you plan on writing more books?
I hope to write other books because it is fun putting words together for people to enjoy.