After a long 28 hours of travel I have finally made it to the beautiful country of Rwanda. As I write this, it is 9pm so I have not had a chance to see its beauty in the daylight. When telling people that had once visited Rwanda that I was making the trip, everyone commented on how clean the country is. During a 30 minute ride to the hotel, I did not see one piece of trash on or around the road. When talking to our driver about the safety of the city, he pointed out the security guards, they are hard to see in the dark due to their uniforms, but if you look closely they are at every street corner. What also surprised me is that tomorrow, and every last saturday of the month, the Country stops all work and has a national cleaning party. All the citizens go out from 8-11 am and clean their communities, they even have fines for people who don’t participate…how cool is that. I am very excited to see this country in the sunlight as well as taste some of its best coffees. Get excited for the next 2 weeks as I take you along with me on this journey with lots more notes and photos to come.
Today, since my body is all messed up due to the time change, I woke up really early and couldn’t get back to sleep. So, I decided I would go for a walk around the city and see what this whole “country clean up day” was all about. I will say I was a little curious about how many people would actually be out cleaning and just as they said, everyone was out there. An hour or so into my walk, the streets were clear of cars and there were people out sweeping the streets and picking up trash from the parks. It was a sight to see! After the walk I met up with the rest of the jurors for a quick lunch before getting on the bus and heading to the welcoming ceremony. Lunch took a little longer than expected as we were waiting on some other jurors to arrive. After an 80 minute drive east, we arrived in the city of Kayonza, where the cuppings were to be held as well as where we would be staying. On our arrival we were greeted by an entourage of people that included the Governor and the assembly of the Department of Coffee Quality. After the introductions and speeches, a group of traditional dancers and singers came out. I will say it was amazing to actually see in person.