Last night I was finally able to submit the last part of a year long book project for Speak Africa. Last January I was contacted by the founder (and relative of mine) Serena Morones about her new company dedicated to providing language materials for Kinyrwanda (the spoken language) and the increasing numbers of tourists and aid working going there. The country has been steadily recovering from the genocide of the 1990's and the need for foreigners to learn the language has been increasing. Very little existed and nothing in the way of a travel/pocket book. The actual size of this is only 4.5 x 6 inches.
This cover project was fun and I learned a valuable lesson in politics and research with the first draft. I had used the country's flag as a major motif. When I showed it to one of the Rwandan team members he politely stated, "It's very lovely but I don't think we want to use the flag as many Rwandan's see that as a political statement left over from the genocide." The flag had changed durning the course of the upheaval and the current flag was not unanimously favored. His recommendation was to focus on the landscape instead. The country is very lush, with green and brown rolling hills and terraces. It was good advice and I had a lot of fun with this. I used photo reference but went for graphic exaggeration over realism.
I will post more images and details on the project when the book comes off the press in the next couple weeks. If you would like to know more about what they do check out SpeakRwanda.com for more, including downloadable audio lessons.