hello from Rwanda

Hello from Rwanda.  After a 50+ hour travel (including missed connection at O’Hare) I made it to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda.  My body has not adjusted to the time change and the missed hours of sleep from countless hours in airplane and airports… I jumped right in into my first day in Rwanda with about 5 hours of sleep in the last 30 hours…

We met with friends from the Rwanda Trading Company (RTC) who graciously spent the morning telling us about their business model and later took us on a field trip to the eastern district of Bugesera.  The first thing that I noticed was the absolute beauty of the country.. rolling hills with coffee, banana, cassava, and native plants… and lakes and rivers and the definition of a paradise (at least mine).

We visited a coffee washing station, this is the first step in processing coffee cherries into parchment.  Parchment coffee is what happens to the cherry after it is depulped, washed, sorted and dried.  Parchment coffee then goes to the next stage of processing, the dry mill.  Dry mills convert parchement coffee into green coffee, and this green coffee is what is exported to its final destination where it goes through the last processing stage before brewing.  The roasting.

After visiting the coffee washing station we went to a training that RTC provides its farmers on how to grow coffee using best practices, how to keep records, how to combat pests, and how to identify when the coffee plant is not doing well.  It was by far one of the greatest things I have ever experienced… I love what I study and research… and I am so impressed with the work that RTC does, if you can, check them out (here)!

parchment coffee at washing station sorting tableIMG_3667 a view of the coffee washing station from below… IMG_3673Stafford showing us how them make “worm tea” at CWS by mixing compost with lots of worms, a liquid is produced that when diluted with water it becomes an organic and natural pesticide used on coffee trees
IMG_3675 a participant at the training under a canopy of coffee trees… some of the cherries are starting to ripen! (the season begins in a couple of weeks)IMG_3695what your delicious cup of coffee looks before it goes through the value chain…
IMG_3697 participants of the training with me! :)IMG_3711