Yesterday, we visited the Ruli Mountain coffee washing station. The drive up to the farm consisted of a very muddy, bumpy ride as we passed through little villages and children playing on the side of the road yelling “MUZUNGU! MUZUNGU!” at us (white man).
It was an absolute joy to finally meet some of the Ruli Mountain staff and get to see the operation there. Not to mention, landscape was beautiful! We spent time sitting in a communal circle, known as “igitaramo” in Rwandan culture. We had an opportunity to get know the farmers lives, hear their stories and aspirations … all over a cup of Ruli Mountain coffee that was roasted in Roswell, GA and brought back in our suitcases. What a blessing to drink the roasted coffee with its very own harvesters. Seeing those coffee cups in the hands of the very souls that produced the beans was a very rewarding experience. I’ve never enjoyed a cup of coffee more than I did yesterday!
Now, I’d like for you to meet my new friend Aimè (see picture bellow, and please excuse my blink). Aimé is our coffee cherry fermentation officer. He is 25 years old, and at age eight he has lost his whole family to the genocide: brothers, sisters, father and mother. Luckily another Rwandan family took him in from age 8 to 18, however right at 18 years old they kicked him out with hardly any education or proper training for a sustainable life. Then he heard about Land of a Thousand Hills. Our Rwandan community trade director, Manu saw much potential in him so we hired him on as a farmer first and have trained him on fermentation since.
As Aimé was sharing his story with us, he let us know that his dream is to get married in the near future. However, culturally he needs to establish his household (quite literally) before he pursues marriage. Right now he is living in one of the small houses on our plantation as we are providing housing for him as well as salary. He has personally laid a foundation for the house he is building, but he is stuck and needs help to carry on. My heart went out to him, so when (God willing) I return with a team in July, we will commit a day of our time, labor and resources to establish his home. He is a very hard worker, and we want to continue to empower him to get on his feet. He told us Jonathan is his dad now. As we departed that evening, during our warm embrace I told him I am his brother now as well. I can’t wait to see him again in July.
Today we are driving up to Musanze to spend time with Sofia and the boys, 3 orphans that we adopted and have been sponsoring since 2008. Technology permitting, I’ll try and capture some video for the next post!