Rewriting the Story…one cup of coffee at a time!

Posted on May 02, 2017



April 6 marked the beginning of Rwanda's 23rd Remembrance of the genocide that took place in 1994. For the next 100 days, the nation of Rwanda will mourn the more than 800,000 lives lost and pray for the continued healing, restoration, forgiveness, and reconciliation of their country. As we join in the prayers of the people of Rwanda, we also celebrate how God has been rewriting the story of their nation, including the restoration of a coffee plantation.

On the shores of Lake Kivu in Western Rwanda, the beautiful hills of Cyimbili were once home to one of Rwanda’s largest and most prominent coffee production plantations. With 24,000 plants, each producing about four pounds of coffee a year, Cyimbili provided sustainable jobs for many and stability for thousands in the community. Not only did it bring the people of Western Rwanda economic promise, its revenues continually offered hope to thousands of children and families who benefited from the school, church, and social services made available through its success, including our very own Dr. Celestin Musekura. Celestin attended high school in Cyimbili at the school funded by the coffee plantation. The school and community gave new life and a future to children just like Dr. Musekura. But in 1994, everything changed.

The Rwandan Genocide forever altered the face of Cyimbili. Villagers found themselves with no clean water, electricity, sanitation, or access to basic needs like food and shelter. Production at the once-thriving coffee plantation stopped entirely, and the village was left to ruin. 

But God had a plan to rewrite the story of Cyimbili.  

In 2008, Dr. Musekura and ALARM, in partnership with the Association of Baptist Churches in Rwanda and Hope for a Thousand Hills, returned with an audacious dream—to restore the once-prosperous plantation back to its original form. 

Today, Cyimbili Coffee Plantation is fully operational and buzzing with new life. There are more than 43,000 coffee trees and 6 full-time workers, as well as nearly 200 part-time workers hired during harvest. With a new medical clinic, school, church, and two new water wells on site, there is once again hope in these hills. Over the last three years, the quality of Cyimbili Coffee has improved to the point where professional coffee tasters rate it among the best in the world! But, the work here is not yet done. We continue to dream of strong communities, transformation in the lives of everyday Rwandans, and hope for a sustainable future.  





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