The fact that a large, respected cooperative has now recognized her considerable skills and talents in coffee agronomy, quality control at many points in the supply chain and her agri-business background is a wonderful time to pause and say "thank you" and "good luck"!
I first met Grace in May 2015 during a unique and impactful "Farm to Cup" program organized by a consortium of universities: Washington State University (WSU), Michigan State University (MSU) and the University of Rwanda (UR). Six students from the U.S. universities traveled to Rwanda with a professor from WSU and met up there with six Rwandan student-counterparts, and Rwandan educators. I was one of the three students selected to go from MSU. Grace was one of the Rwandan agri-business students selected. I had the good fortune to be assigned to work with Grace as a field research partner.
Finally in June 2020 she was able to return and continue working with Kopakama's staff. She participated deeply in all the steps of the coffee value chain from harvest, to de-pulping, to drying, to all the export steps. She also became a master of sample roasting and cupping. Grace's assistance was becoming more and more valuable to me as the importer since I was "stranded" on the US side of the ocean. I was unable to travel to visit, as I normally would, but Grace could give me detailed reports in fluent English and send photos. The photos! We've discovered Grace could easily have a second career as a photographer.
In December 2019 Kopakama posted several open positions, and Grace submitted her application for Chief Production Officer. At the end of March she was one of three final candidates invited to take an exam on topics related to the position. Grace scored the highest, and the position was offered to her! Congratulations!