Mocha Iced Coffee in Butare
Luckily the ice cream machine was fixed in time for our birthday celebration, and we had a really successful day! (see pictures here). Things have been very busy since then. Over the past week I have been an ice cream machine technician, a children’s activity director, an accountant, a cashier, a chef, a manager, a publicist, an English teacher, a coffee expert, a product developer, and taken on any other job that has come my way. It has been interesting to see what skills actually are handy. Last semester I did my PICA internship at Flavours of Life – the fair trade store in New London. I often joked about how distant working retail was from my actual PICA interest of women as a tool for international development, but now that small business knowledge has been the most helpful when I actually find myself in the field.
Today I also made the important contribution of bringing mocha iced coffee to Rwanda (which we don’t actually serve any ice in). We have been trying to develop new coffee drinks to promote our new coffee project, but the mocha one has always been a bit bitter. Today I found chocolate milk mix in our closet, and it worked perfectly. With product development, after developing a recipe, I have to find out how much the product costs for us to make, decide how much to sell it for, teach all the women to make it (after they all approve of the taste of course), and then advertise. Hopefully the students at the university down the road (NUR) will enjoy it as much as American college students seem to enjoy fancy coffee drinks.
This week we also sold a ton of our roasted beans to tourists, which is a new product we are selling. Tomorrow we are going to start developing recipes for paninis. Yummm. Besides keeping busy at the shop, I feel very settled in Butare after being here for two weeks. One day this week we didn’t have water for 24 hours which was difficult but manageable (the shop has a reserve of water….my house does not). This weekend I’m going to see a genocide memorial that is close by to my house. It is supposed to be one of the most powerful ones in Rwanda. On a lighter note, the women at the shop are going to teach me to drum tomorrow! And it is one of the women’s daughter’s first birthday Sunday, so we will have a party at the shop! There is such a nice community within the shop and even though Rwandans tend to be very reserved, they are slowly starting to open up to me. One of the women who is also 21 invited me to her wedding in August! She was very sad to hear I will already be back in America. Naturally I’m already trying to find ways to come back and live in Rwanda again.