Posted on: Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
At sunrise the cheetah and the gazelle start running. Whichever one slows down dies!
My journey to Rwanda last year, together with a group of fourteen counselors was focused on training local counselors in trauma counselling to aid them in their work with genocide survivors. We came face to face with the ability of a people to move so far past the atrocities of genocide that I had to adjust my perspective and call the place – ‘a land of the living not the dead!’ Hope and signs of progression or ‘moving on’, as they might say, was everywhere. Rwanda has not slowed down.
While we talked I smelled the coffee! A few questions revealed that coffee was a major export for Rwanda and there was a lot of attention being paid to this sector by the private and public sectors. The people were proud of their coffee and it was soo gooood!
One of the ways that Rwanda as a nation has ‘moved on’ is in developing the coffee industry from the grass roots. Famers are being educated, are working together in cooperatives and have had 100 more washing stations added in the last 5 years to process the coffee beans in readiness for export.
Why coffee in particular? I am not entirely sure. Why find a way to do direct and empowering business with people in Rwanda? Not out of pity or sympathy but for the express reason of finding ways to join in the ‘moving on’ I have come to see is rooted deep in the psyche of the Rwanda people. I’d like to understand how a community rises up practically and how people overcome. I’d like to understand how they move on to become productive and powerful and not just another country waiting for aid.
I am looking forward to finding ways to import Rwanda coffee from the farmers directly to Canada coffee lovers.