I (Chris Kaczmarek) recently went on a trip to Rwanda in East Africa to visit Land of a Thousand Hills coffee (the same coffee that we serve in our Restoration Cafe). There were only two of us from County Line, but we partnered with a church from South Carolina. If you don’t know much about Land of a Thousand Hills, they operate under the slogan “Drink coffee, do good.” There are essentially two sides of Land of a Thousand Hills. The “Drink Coffee” side is their for-profit. This is where they produce the beans and send them to the US to roast and sell. Then, there is a “do good” initiative. Do good is the nonprofit side of the company, this was the primary purpose of our trip. We spent most of our time in a town called Ruli where we did business training, English teaching, and public health education.
At the end of this trip, we traveled to Lake Kivu, an area in the western part of Rwanda. This was a time for us to relax a bit and spend some quiet time with God. We were also able to visit a coffee washing station in that area that Land of a Thousand Hills owns. When we arrived, we were greeted by hundreds of singing women. To be honest, this was overwhelming for some of the team. After some time spent talking we found out that these women were all part of the community but because of the unfortunate culture here they were all single. What happens is that the men in the area will marry a woman, have a few children with her, and when she gets too old, he leaves her and finds someone younger. This leaves the women alone with several children and “scarred” in the community meaning she will never be married again.
Land of a Thousand Hills is doing their best to partner with these women. This coffee station has hired only women because of the need for them to have an income to take care of their children. County Line will be going back to Rwanda next year to work both in Ruli as well as Lake Kivu. Be on the lookout for information in the next month or so. There will be an informational meeting about this trip in August. The dates will be June 15-26. Email Pastor Chris Kaczmarek with any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pastor Chris with Manu (LOTH manager)
Chris & Steve at the Ruli coffee washing station
Lake Kivu washing station
The women we talked with at Lake Kivu
Francis doing public health education
Pastor Chris & Principal Bosco
Coffee ready to be shipped out to the US
Business training at Ruli wash station