Tag Archives: training

Hey Inzozi Nziza… what’s cooking?

If this looks like serious business, that’s because it is… it’s one of our new recipe sessions!

Regular visitors to Butare will know all about Inzozi Nziza’s wide product range. We don’t just make ice cream – we also sell cookies, cakes and loads more – and perfecting our recipes is one of the perks of the job.

Cookie time

Chocolate chip (top) and snickerdoodle cookies, fresh from the oven

We started with cakes, offering banana and carrot cake everyday. We now offer two types of cookies: chocolate chip and snickerdoodle (sugar cookies for those outside of the US). Though cookies are commonly made in Europe and North America, no one in Rwanda makes fresh cookies. Even in Kigali, all we’ve found were boxed and imported. So now it’s our turn!

Ice cream parfait
What do you do with warm, gooey, chocolate cake? Make ice cream parfaits, of course! Our newest special combines layers of our homemade chocolate cake with our very own, Inzozi Nziza ice cream.

Mocha ice cream and chocolate cake - the perfect parfait!

Our parfaits are every bit as tasty as they look (maybe more). Also in the machine: pineapple and, of course… chocolate!

Bananas foster
Yes, the special treat from New Orleans has made it to our corner of Rwanda – how could we not combine two of our favorite things, ice cream and bananas?! All new recipes are first tested in our kitchen (usually a few times). We’re going through a few recipes right now, but here’s our favorite:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
4 firm ripe bananas, peeled and halved lengthwise
1/4 cup dark rum
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Tossing bananas in the sugar and butter mix

Melt the sugar and butter together until melted and a little brown. Add bananas, halved, scooping the butter mix over the top. After 2 – 3 minutes, flip the bananas and cook another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the alcohol (we use Grand Marnier from Mauritius) and place on the heat for another 10 – 15 seconds. Serve immediately by placing first the bananas, then ice cream and drizzling the sauce on top.

So far, we’ve made it with vanilla, pineapple, and chocolate ice cream … all are great!

The combination of hot and cold can take a little while to get used to...

...but it has become a firm favorite!

Like the look of our ice cream, cakes and cookies? Then come and see us!

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Meet the interns

Ernestine and Aime outside the shop

We would like to more formally introduce our fabulous interns from the National University of Rwanda – Aime and Ernestine. Both interns have been tirelessly helping out here at Inzozi Nziza since February and have seen the shop through its many stages of development. They were introduced to the shop through Orphans of Rwanda, an American-based organization that supports university studies for over 180 Rwandan students. ORI offers talented young people comprehensive support as they pursue their educations and connects them with career-building internships, training and workshops.

As interns at Inzozi Nziza, Aime and Ernestine have been invaluable, translating both manuals and meetings, helping teach English, and working to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Barely a day goes by that they don’t stop by to help out or just say hello. For Ernestine, a business administration student, working at Inzozi Nziza has been a great opportunity to see the ins and outs of starting a business, particularly one operated and managed by women – something she hopes to do herself one day. But working at the shop has been valuable beyond just the career experience. Inzozi Nziza has become her family. According to Ernestine, the women she works with are the mothers and sisters she didn’t have growing up.

Aime shows Marie Rose how to use the computer. And check out our new office cabinets!

As a journalism and communications student at NUR, Aime has been particularly excited by the chance to practice his already stellar English. And as his fluency grows, Aime is also thrilled to see how the shop has developed. The transformation is truly incredible – what was just an empty storefront and a bright idea a few months ago has turned into a bustling local hangout frequented by his friends. Aime and Ernestine’s hard work and commitment have been crucial to Inzozi Nziza and we are so happy to have had their continuing help. Fortunately for us, they are looking forward to being involved, as friends and coworkers, for a long time to come.

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More than just a Bpeace of paper!

At the end of an amazing, inspiring week with Bpeace, our 17 Inzozi Nziza trainees were rewarded with two certificates: one in customer service, and one in business and personal finance. For readers of this blog outside of Africa, it might be hard to appreciate just how much these awards meant to women who, in many cases, have received very little formal education. As Seraphine announced in her acceptance speech: “I now have four certificates. Two are in theatre, and now I have two in business – and they’re all thanks to Kiki”.

Alphonsine accepts her certificate from Donna of Bpeace

After a just a week together, the bond between the trainees and the trainers was clear to see...

...though nothing is ever entirely serious when the Inzozi Nziza women are involved!

In the end, it was left to Kiki to thank Bpeace for their work. “Thank you for coming all this way to train us,” she said. “You have made us feel really important, really precious, and this is not a usual feeling for us.
“This week has been so important. It gives us energy, enthusiasm, and strength. By people coming here and believing in us, it says yes, let’s continue to dream.”


‘More jobs, less violence’

With less than three weeks to opening day here in Butare, training for our potential employees is stepping up a level – and we’re delighted to welcome three representatives of the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) to lead a week’s intensive work on customer service, running a business and managing personal finances.

Bpeace is a not-for-profit organisation that works with entrepreneurs in conflict-affected countries to scale their businesses, create signficant employment for all, and expand the economic power of women. It has worked with several companies here in Rwanda, including the Petit Prince Hotel in Butare, and its representatives – Sabra Richardson, Fran Pastore and Donna Fleetwood – bring with them a wealth of experience in business, training and empowering women.

One thing we know for a sure – they were an instant hit with our trainees.

Barely an hour after being introduced, Donna is a fully fledged member of the Inzozi Nziza team

Sabra, assisted by translator Aime, explains what Bpeace is all about

Sabra took the floor first, and here’s a little of what she said:

“We’re going to teach you how to run your ice cream shop, so that you can make money and so that you can help your families. We’ll teach you customer service, so that you can be nice to your customers and everyone will run to your store.

“We believe that the more jobs you have, the less violence there is. My personal wish for all of you is that whatever you learn about business, you share it with your family, with your village, with your community, because the more information we share, the more everyone will rise. You can show others how to make a profit, so that all businesses in your community can be successful.”

Next it was Donna’s turn to say some heartfelt words. “You are all part of my dream,” she said. “For so long I’ve thought about the moment I’d come here and see your beautiful faces – and you’re even more beautiful than I dreamed. We are so proud of you.

“We’ve seen your energy when you are drumming, your passion, your inspiration. I know this is going to be a huge success, and even though we may not always speak the same language, I see you and I hear you and I feel you always.”

Fran, from the Women’s Development Business Centre at Stamford, summed up the introductions.

“Congratulations everyone,” she said. “You have all taken a very big step in your lives to take advantage of this opportunity. I am very happy to play a small part in this adventure. I work with women and men like you every day, helping them to improve their lives and those of their families. It’s thrilling to be here today and I’m so excited. It’s going to be an exciting, educational and fun week. Thank you so much for having us.”

All that was left was to meet each other and mingle, so we let the women take over the camera to capture the atmosphere just for you.

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The lessons we’re learning

Our ice cream shop will provide employment to eleven women from the co-operative here in Butare, but we offered English lessons to the whole group – and over 90 women took us up on it. The result has been six lessons a week (four in the mornings, two in the afternoons) for the past three months.

The begin with, the lessons were held in the shop itself. Not everything about the teaching was easy. It may be true that our students had to sit on the floor. We might have had to use the side of a cardboard box as a makeshift flipchart. Many of the students have had little in the way of formal education; some have not even had the chance to attain basic literacy. But we did have two points in our favour: firstly, we have a team of Rwandan interns who have taken a leading role in our teaching programme, helping to explain grammar and vocabulary in Kinyarwanda; secondly, there is the truly inspiring enthusiam and willingness to learn shown by our students.

Intern Aime takes the floor. (Well, the students have already taken the floor, but you know what we mean...)

Since construction work began in earnest, it has made the shop a bit too loud to double up as a classroom. Luckily, we’ve been granted the use of Butare’s University Club, where the modcons extend to such luxuries as chairs and even a blackboard!

Chantal steps up to the board to demonstrate her newfound confidence with the present continuous

The progress the women has made has been astonishing, and we hope it will prove useful, not only for the eventual employees of Inzozi Nziza, but for the whole group. Rwanda, a new member of the British Commonwealth, has made a commitment to embrace the English language – which means the knowledge our students have gained while sitting on the floor of a humble ice cream shop could turn out to be a very valuable commodity. All members of the co-op have the opportunity to gain from us a certificate in basic English proficiency… though of course you can’t have complete the course without first sitting the dreaded exams!

Midterms: not fun in any language