Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Cibitoke bakery, and steps towards sustainability...

Standing in the simple doorway, the first thing that hits me is the wonderful smell of baking bread. I stand still for a moment and breathe in deeply, even from this distance I can feel the incredible heat coming from the ovens which take up the majority of the room. The remaining space is occupied by various workers. One is carefully arranging the uncooked dough loaves into lines on flat baking trays, his fingers sprinkling fine flour dust into the air. Another is braving the heat of the oven, removing the cooked bread and placing the new loaves in the oven as part of an efficient production line.
In another corner, a man stands stirring a huge pan of hot oil over a flame, where hundreds of ibitumbura (fried balls of dough, local doughnuts) are bobbing about and sizzling a golden brown.

The bakery is an exciting hive of industry, and it’s even more exciting to see how the children in the Homes of Hope and the Future Hope School in Cibitoke have benefited from the addition of bread to their diets. We have a similar bakery in Gitega, which has also made a huge difference. Children who used to come to school hungry, now get fed mid-morning, and their grades have improved now that they are not studying on an empty stomach.
Even better, surplus bread and ibitumbura are sold in Cibitoke town and generate an income to support the projects. It’s a win-win holistic mission. We’re providing skills-training and a livelihood for those working in the bakery, we’re providing food for the children in our care, and we’re taking steps towards sustainability from the income we generate in town.

Full self-sustainability is still a long way off, but this is a very encouraging step in the right direction.

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