Gavin and Bronwen Ryalls left Dunfermline to take up voluntary charity work in Rwanda. Life is tough and they tell of the smart child sneaking INTO school, another who survived life on the streets selling peanuts and the mums who make banana juice. This is their story : The long Christmas holidays and New year have come and gone, so the next big event in the Rwanda calendar was the dreaded back to school.

Life returned to what passes as normal in this part of the world as the roads filled up, taxi-bus queues stretched along the pavements and children pulled on their brightly-coloured school uniforms.

We have 13 children at our project who started the new term.

Last year they were spread across four primary schools which made the logistics of seeing them in and out of the house a bit of a headache.

Fortunately we were able to reduce this to two schools for the new term. This meant having to have a set of new school uniforms made up as well as going out to buy new jotters for all of them.

The school fees have been paid, the tailor just about finished the uniforms, and after scouring the local markets for 13 sets of jotters (which wasn't easy) it is looking like everything might just fall into place.

There is a young lad who has been helping at our street children's project who will be entering his final year at secondary school. Until last week it didn't look as if he was going to make it because he hadn't found a sponsor to pay his fees.

Although the costs of primary education are relatively modest by western standards, the £150 to £200 each year for secondary school is well beyond most families, and out of the question for children like Narcisse without a family.

So he had just about given up hope when we were offered some money from a church in Germany to send someone to school. His uniform was torn and he needed a school bag, so we were able to help him with those and he will be joining the happy throng in the playground with his class-mates.

Narcisse deserves to finish school. It seems that he hasn't always had a uniform or someone to pay his fees.

For the past five years he has been sneaking into the classroom (presumably with the help of sympathetic teachers) then disappearing quickly whenever the headmaster or a government inspector appeared.

Narcisse is smart, and he has had to be!

He is one of a generation of young Rwandans who have made progress through living off their wits.

We know another boy, slightly older, who came to Rwanda from a refugee camp in Uganda where he was born. His brothers were all killed in the war which preceeded the genocide in 1994 and he has no other family.

Steven told us casually about how he had survived his first years in Kigali by selling peanuts. He could make enough money to buy charcoal for two days, some cassava flour and more peanuts to sell.

The charcoal was enough to fry the peanuts in some salted water and then on the same stove make the cassava into a dough-like bread to eat. That was his life; one meal a day, and pure carbohydrate.

We know the cassava bread he was talking about. It has the consistency and appearance of wallpaper paste that has been allowed to thicken and tastes just as unappetising.

We were sitting with Steven enjoying some brochettes at the new year. Like Narcisse, he is intelligent and has been able to find work teaching primary school children in the mornings.

The money he earns from this is paying for his university course which takes up his evenings. He smiled wryly as he remembered his peanut days and having to look out for the police who would arrest anyone they found selling on the streets.

This has always puzzled us. Street sellers are common in Kigali although the practice is widely understood to be illegal.

Steven explained with a grin that it wasn't possible to eat without breaking the law. People do it out of desperation and are very adept at picking up their bundle when the police come along.

The other day, and not for the first time, I saw a woman quickly gathering her blanket of mangos from the ground while looking apprehensively along the street.

So against this background we are trying to get our street children's mothers, aunts and sisters earning a living so that they can feed their youngsters.

Having decided that it wasn't worth the risk of a night in jail, our women are becoming busy at home making goods to sell around the local shops. One group have made a good start over Christmas producing banana juice by the jerrycan.

The process involves burying the bananas in the ground for several days before mixing them in a hollowed out wooden canoe called a muvuri. It tastes better than it sounds.

Another group took the plunge at the local market and are trying their hand at selling bags of charcoal. These women need a lot of encouragement.

The year ahead looks as if it will be a long haul. If we can get our mamas to take their children back, keep them off the streets and themselves out of prison, we will think we are beginning to get somewhere.

In the meantime, watch this space.