Gahizi Alexis used to manage a branch of a large bank, then he was a teacher in Congo, then he moved to Burundi and opened a coffee shop. After the genocide destroyed the community he loves, he moved back to Rwanda to grow coffee and eventually open the Gitesi washing station.
In 1994, 800,000 Rwandans were killed in the genocide against the Tutsi people. Rwanda will never be the same, but coffee has played a big role in the recovery. The PEARL project along with other government and non-government organizations helped get farmers back to growing coffee, an indispensable part of the Rwandan economy.
Alexis started Gitesi with his son Aime who is an agronomist and a civil engineer, two valuable skills for a coffee farmer. They worked tirelessly to get the washing station open, which took nearly five years. Two years later, they won the Rwanda Cup of Excellence.
Today they buy coffee from 1,830 different farmers from nearby including the KOPAKIKA association, a group of 160 women farmers. They process and sort the coffees, which are all the Bourbon variety, a very common variety in Rwanda.
The Alexises' have partnered with Tim Williams (timwilliams.co) to provide cows to the farmers around Gitesi. They're calling it the Gitesi Project. (gitesiproject.org)
"The gifting of cows to under-resourced households is a practice known as a Girinka program, and in the case of these smallholder farmers can be an invaluable resource—providing their families milk for nourishment and sale, as well as organic fertilizer for their crops."
We're so excited about this idea and look forward to supporting them as often as we can.
Elevation: 2000 masl
Process: Fully Washed