As I sat in the restaurant surrounded by green and yellow painted concrete walls, I was hit by this wave of feeling.
It was a combination of excitement and optimism. I had the pleasure of eating with Corette Nakabonye, the 61-yr-old female president of the Hingakawa coffee cooperative. Her coffee story and that of Hingakawa is not a simple one, but it is certainly a powerful one. There is a lot of history that sets the stage for this unfolding play, and this blog post cannot do it justice, so I will simply talk about why Hingakawa was formed and how it is transforming lives.
The Hingakawa co-op, set in the hills about an hour outside of Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, is a beautiful place.
And the physical beauty is just a small piece of what makes this so incredible. The real story is the redemption that has resulted from women recognizing their shared pain in humanity above all else. The genocide in Rwanda in 1994 that arose from ethnic conflict created many widows. But instead of letting those differences create further division, these women came together to form this coffee co-op to recognize their similarities and to support one another. And through this support and tremendously hard work, they have been producing excellent specialty coffee.