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Cultural Crusader

Reagan Student Shares Rwandan Heritage with Classmates

By Amy Morgan


Ronald Reagan High School senior Lewis Kaberuka’s on a mission to broaden the horizons of his fellow classmates about different cultures and societies. It’s a desire that comes naturally to the native of the East African country of Rwanda, as his family still spans the globe. Lewis enjoys sharing African American backgrounds and traditions with friends. “Reagan lacks representation of the Black community,” he said. “I like to discuss the good, the bad, the food, the festivals, things people wouldn’t otherwise know about.” 


For example, his favorite Rwandan food is called Ugali — a thick porridge made with flour. The dish is best served dipped in stew. Another selection, Mandazi, is similar to a donut. If Lewis wants to invite friends to try his country’s dishes, he’ll have to ask his mother to make them, because he has not yet found a restaurant in San Antonio that serves African food. This summer he was able to make up for lost time, eating to his heart’s content when he visited his father and other relatives in Rwanda “The tea also is great!” he testified. 

Lewis’ most fond Reagan memory is when his AP Human Geography teacher, Ms. Rose, invited him to share his experiences in Rwanda with the class. He highlighted Rwanda’s forward-thinking government as one of the few in Africa to include women in its political leadership. 


“I felt proud that my country was being showcased,” he said. 


Lewis, his mother and several of his siblings relocated to Texas when he was six years old for opportunity and safety. (His family’s heritage is Tutsi, the tribe slaughtered by the millions in the country’s 1995 genocide) Lewis still is able to understand the Kinyarwanda and French languages he learned as a child, although he says he’s not fluent. He was impressed during his visit by the beautiful smiles and vividly white teeth of many of his countryman, an observation that has led him to consider dentistry as a future career. He also values helping others, and that field would allow him to combine both interests. As his older siblings have graduated and left home, Lewis has stepped up to look after his mother and young brother and plans to remain in Texas when he attends college. 


Lewis also is treasurer of Reagan’s robotics club, whose team from Reagan’s AP Computer Science Principles class qualified for the State competition. They build a maneuverable robot named Black and Green after the colors of the Reagan Rattlers. Team members wrote a coded program that allowed them to direct the robot via a gaming controller. It was able to circle a cone and pick it up with its retractable arm. This year Lewis’ team hopes to upgrade the wheels on the newer version to make the robot more agile and reliable.


The entire Reagan community will be wishing Lewis “bonne chance” and “amahirwe masa!” on his future endeavors.

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