Rwanda Trip 2017 – Day 12

Friday, June 23
Azizi Life! Today we participated in a program designed to teach us what life in rural Rwanda is like. We drove a couple hours towards the west, and after an orientation, we headed towards a village to begin our work. I should mention that, based on a quick glance at an elevation map, we were somewhere between 2500 and 3000 meters above sea level. 
We were greeted at the village by our host team and after introductions, we were fitted out in traditional Rwandan clothing. Our first job was to peel sweet potatoes that would be used for lunch. We each got to peel one, then the village ladies took over so they could actually have things done in time for lunch. At that point, we began the adventure of making coffee. The first thing we had to do was climb from the village to the coffee grove. It was a steep climb. I noted to Lucy that at times the roads had a 45 degree incline, and at other times the climbs were steep. This climb was steep! After we got to the road just below the coffee trees, then we had to climb up a path that mountain goats refused to climb. 
Lucy’s shoe came off which caused her to slip on that path, and two of the village ladies got past me to help her up the path. Finally at the coffee grove, we began picking the cherries. We got a short tutorial about which ones to pick first. If the trees were too tall, they used a rope to pull the branches down so we could get to all the cherries on the branch. We worked hard, for about 30-45 minutes, gathering enough coffee to say we picked it. Then we headed back down to our host house. Lucy had gotten ahead of me, and the ladies took special care of her. Once on the road, the village ladies had the muzungu ladies carry the coffee back. Yes, of course it was on their heads! AND, not one of them dropped their loads. Lucy was awesome at this. 
Our next job was to take the skins off the coffee cherries and get the beans out. To do that, we had a stone that was flat on the bottom and concave on the top where we put the cherries, and then a flat stone that we used to grind the cherries. This took the skin off the cherries and both beans came out. We had to pick the skins out of the beans. They were slimy at this point. Our hands were sticky and we needed to wash. One of the ladies brought out a basin and poured water over our hands into the basin so we could do that. 
Beans take about two weeks to dry out, so they brought out some dried beans from before and they began the process of drying “our” beans. They rinsed them and laid them out in the sun to dry. The beans will have to be turned every two hours during the daylight hours. We took the dried coffee beans and husked them. We did this by hand. When we had enough, they set up the coffee roaster: they placed three bricks on the ground in a triangle, put burning sticks in the areas between the bricks, and then put a pot on top of the bricks. They poured the beans into the pot, and then we stirred. And stirred. And stirred. When they thought it was ready, they tested the beans to be sure, by eating the roasted bean. Yes, we ate a roasted coffee bean without it being covered in chocolate. 
Then, out came the log. They brought out a hollowed out log where they poured the roasted beans and we took a big stick and crushed the coffee. I think that if we ever need a new coffee grinder, it will be the mortar and pestle for me. Not by my choice…Lucy enjoyed seeing me work though. The coffee, once ground, was stirred into a plastic pitcher that had been filled with boiling water. It cooked while we ate lunch. Lunch was sweet potatoes, beans, and avocados. The only person to use a fork to eat was our guide who’s been with us all these two weeks. After lunch, coffee was served. They poured it through a strainer. It was delicious. They offered us sugar. They brought out a big bowl of natural sugar. Most of the Americans took it black. Most of the Rwandan women poured in the sugar. The big bowl was almost if not completely empty by the end of the coffee drinking time. The Americans were amazed. 
After lunch, the women danced. JeJe and I weren’t invited to do so, but we moved with the music. We enjoyed watching all the women dance, and at the end of the last dance, one of the Rwandan women included me, be it ever so briefly. After a final picture with the whole group, it was time to head back to the orientation center, buy out that shop, and head for home through the beautiful Rwandan countryside. Well, stopped at “Threads” first to pick up clothes that had needed alterations before we got back to the guest house. We rested, showered, ate dinner, and then heard from Sarah and Zach, who is our team leader. We are all so different. We come from different backgrounds. We have dealt with, or are dealing with, many different problems throughout life. Still, we are united by the love of Christ. While the trip wasn’t perfect and there are many ways to improve the Teacher Training Trip, we have every right to give God the glory for what He has done during these two weeks. Tomorrow, our only official duty is a debrief with the Africa New Life Team. We’ll be heading out to the airport in less than 20 hours. Keep our team in prayers: for the three who are staying an extra week, and for those traveling home. 


About rockyfort

I am a retired Middle School Teacher. I share each day what God is teaching me from reading His word hoping that people can benefit from reading what God has taught me.
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