If I was to ask any one of my colleagues in the states what their priorities are first thing in the morning when they arrive to the office, I can almost guarantee that most Americans, myself included, will answer: “Coffee!!!!!” Or perhaps the extra exclamation marks come from my frightening addiction to the old cup of Joe. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with me can tell you that I definitely have an addiction to coffee. I really prefer the term “coffee connoisseur.”
When I was packing for my new adventure to Rwanda my immediate thought was wait a sec… Do they have French presses? I even emailed an image of a French press several times to my co-fellow Pacifique. In addition I asked folks at home that they send me multiple French presses just in case. I now have four French presses in various sizes. One of which I found at an Asian supermarket in Kigali!
When you move to a new city or yet a completely different country it takes you a while to finally settle in and make yourself feel at home. When I moved to Rwinkwavu, Rwanda it took me a while to get into the swing of things. Many of my colleagues are extremely dedicated to their work and there are always deadlines to be met. As I was transitioning into my new role as a Pharmacy Supply Chain Analyst at Partner’s In Health, I did my best to incorporate my coffee habit into the morning rush of activities. This was often more difficult being that the streets of Rwinkwavu are not dominated by thousands of corporate branches like Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks.
I realized quite quickly that I would have to set up my own operation and coffee station at the office. As you can imagine I began to bring attention to myself as I was grinding beans and boiling water at our work place. Especially since the one coffee that I did bring with me was the very rare Kopi Luwak Coffee. I not only drink this coffee because of its exceptional flavor but also because it reminds me of home. Very close friends of mine who are also world travelers introduced me to the coffee and roasting process. As I have a bit of stomach issues this coffee is much less acidic than traditional coffees, being that the beans have already passed through another mammal’s digestive tract.
As I continued to turn my desk into a mini barista station I realized that I wanted to have a community event where I could share my love of Kopi Luwak coffee with the rest of my PIH colleagues.Although coffee culture is very different in the United States, aka those folks who make the mandatory 3pm trip to Starbucks to get their afternoon caffeine fix. I decided to bring a bit of that to my community in Rwinkwavu. A break from the afternoon “Grind” to enjoy some exotic new coffee together.
I had a very successful turnout, even clinicians from the hospital surprisingly took five minutes out of their afternoon to drop in and learn about the Kopi Luwak coffee. In turn they shared stories about how coffee is grown here in Rwanda. Including how 10 years ago Rwandan farmers switched their farming methods to provide more premium coffee which is actually sought after by the coffee giants we are so familiar with … Ahemmm… Starbucks!!! Talk about supply chain at it is finest! All in all the gathering of my community- although it was just to share a cup of coffee- was just the extra java jolt I needed to finally feel at home.
…Brought to you by the wannabe coffee connoisseur.