Friday, November 10, 2017

77. New Dry Mill and Rural Community Development in Rubengera, Rwanda

10. November, 2017
Nov. 9 - Inauguration celebration included drummers and dancing!
Yesterday was a very exciting day in the small rural community of Rubengera, Rwanda. Hundreds of people attended the inauguration ceremonies for the new dry mill which opened earlier this year. I had the honor of seeing the large, cavernous building on May 1, shortly after it was purchased from the previous owner and was only starting to be converted. Then I saw it again in June when a contractor from Braz-Afric was there supervising the installation of a dozen different new, large machines. In July and August, Artisan Coffee Imports was honored to be one of the first coffee importers to have the coffee we were buying (from KOPAKAMA's Ejo Heza group) processed on those new machines.

I was so honored to be invited to the inaugural ceremony, but unfortunately, I was not able to be there in person. So I was delighted to receive photos and even a video from the auspicious occasion. (Thanks to Frederic HAKIZIMANA, KOPAKAMA's CEO who is adept with Whatsapp!) I'm sure if I had been at the day-long event, listening to the speeches and enjoying the dances, the food and the tour, some of the points I would have reflected on would be:
  • How beautifully different organizations have worked together to make this large project possible. My understanding is that KOPAKAMA, TWIN and a group called SIDI brought the financing for the project together. Seven different coffee washing stations have agreed to use the facility, agreeing on the fees they'll pay, schedules, labor arrangements, etc. All of this takes levels of trust, cooperation and goodwill which cannot be taken for granted.
  •  How this large building, near a school and not far from the road will be another visible sign to all in the community of how important coffee is to the community. It will visibly reflect how coffee brings development opportunities -- machines, big buildings, jobs.
  • How this new business is going to offer multiple opportunities for building the capacity of the residents of this rural village. The machines will need technicians and operators, the offices of the dry mill will need accountants and human resources managers. The dry mill will require operations managers who understand production scheduling and modern communication. The new facility has a cupping lab staffed by trained cuppers, who in turn, will offer training for others to learn this critical quality evaluation skill.
This list of development and capacity building benefits could on and on.  The vision, foresight and planning of the individuals who supported the creation of the KOPAKAMA dry mill are truly to be appreciated for this momentous gift they are giving the people of Rubengera and indeed, all of Rwanda. It is concrete evidence of the benefits that coffee can bring to rural communities.

May 1 - building renovation in-process

May 1 - main entrance, lower floor

May 1 - First floor

May 1 - second floor

June - machinery being installed

June 16th - Braz-Afric Supervisor from Nairobi supervised machinery installation.

June 16th - Jean Bosco- the de-pulper operator at the washing station - looks happy to be working on bigger machines!

June 16th

June 16th
Nov. 9th
Guests of honor - Nov. 9th

Nov. 9th, Mattia Guglielmi of TWIN

Nov. 9th, food and drink enjoyed inside the new dry mill

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