In it together

Umuganda is a community work party held once a month (or more as needed) in the neighborhood where you live. Rwandans cease their normal activities and do general cleanup for the community, like chop the grass, pick up trash, fix storm drains, etc. Afterwards, there is a community time where local officials teach a lesson or have a meeting.

Nationwide, umaganda is mandatory. All other activity halts including transportation – if you have a plane to catch in that time, get to the airport by 8am or wait at the roadblock until noon! Those who do not send one adult member from the household are fined with the amount set by your neighborhood or village. The point is to bond and help one another while getting essential cleanup work done (this is when most public works projects get done).

Umaganda can also be called voluntarily to help a new couple build a house or work together, though people generally barter labor on these occasions. At Inzozi Nziza, we hold our own umaganda and staff meeting each month to get more in-depth work done and to meet and discuss how we can improve our business.

Last Saturday, we held umaganda to…

…wash windows…

…wash floors…

…chairs…

…and tablecloths.

The ice cream machine motor was cleaned and so were all of the walls – we take everything apart, scour it and put it back. We all did it together.

After, we discussed new recipes to try, product requests, customer comments. The most pressing staff issue? The quality of the new sponges and how they disintegrate! Have you guessed we like to clean as much as we like to cook? We are a confirmed batch of neatniks… and we’ll stay that way!

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