Draft National Water Reuse Action Plan

Draft National Water Reuse Action Plan

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a draft National Water Reuse Action Plan that identifies priority actions supporting the reuse of water for human consumption, agriculture, business, industry, recreation and healthy ecosystems. Items proposed in the draft will require the collaboration between governmental and nongovernmental organizations to implement the actions.

What is Water Reuse?

Water reuse is an innovative and dynamic strategy that can dramatically change the future of water availability in the U.S. Water reuse can be used to meet water demands and mitigate the risks posed by droughts. Recycled water can be used for a wide variety of applications, including agriculture, potable water supplies, groundwater replenishment, industrial processes and environmental restoration. The water reuse process can stem from sources such as industrial process water, agricultural return flows, municipal wastewater, oil and gas produced water, and stormwater.

Why Implement a Water Reuse Action Plan?

The draft National Water Reuse Action Plan is the first initiative of its kind to be coordinated across the water sector. According to EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Water, David Ross, forty states anticipate shortages of fresh water within their borders over the next decade. Water reuse has the potential to ensure the viability of our water economy and provide safe and reliable drinking water for years to come.

After extensive research and outreach, it was determined that meaningful advancement of water reuse would best be accomplished by working cooperatively with all water sector stakeholders including federal, state, tribal, and local water perspectives. The EPA hopes to issue a final plan that will include clear commitments and milestones for actions that will increase the sustainability, security and resilience of the nation’s water resources.

What Does the Plan Entail?

The draft National Water Reuse Action Plan identifies 46 proposed actions across ten strategic objectives.

  1. Enable consideration of water reuse with integrated and collaborative action at the watershed scale.
  2. Coordinate and integrate federal, state, tribal, and local water reuse programs and policies.
  3. Compile and refine fit-for-purpose specifications.
  4. Promote technology development, deployment, and validation.
  5. Improve availability of water information.
  6. Facilitate financial support of water reuse.
  7. Integrate and coordinate research on water reuse.
  8. Improve outreach and communication on water reuse.
  9. Support a talented and dynamic workforce.
  10. Develop water reuse metrics that support goals and measure progress.

What Next?

The EPA is soliciting public input through a 90-day public comment period. This period will seek to:

  • Identify the most important actions to be taken in the near term.
  • Identify and describe the specific attributes and characteristics of the actions that will achieve success.
  • Secure specific commitments to lead/partner/collaborate on implementation of actions.

Comments close on December 16, 2019.

For more information, including opportunities to engage with EPA on this effort, visit https://www.epa.gov/waterreuse/water-reuse-action-plan.

For a quick snapshot of how water reuse works, check out this infographic created by World Bank.

Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E. named President of Massachusetts Water Works Association

Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E. named President of Massachusetts Water Works Association

MARLBOROUGH, MASS. (PRWEB) NOVEMBER 06, 2019

The Massachusetts Water Works Association (MWWA) announced that Patrick S. O’Neale, P.E. has been appointed as President of the Association, effective November 1, 2019. Patrick is a Senior Vice President at Tata & Howard, Inc., a Northeast leader in water engineering and consulting.

O’Neale is a seasoned engineer with more than 38 years of consulting experience with specialized expertise in water treatment, water distribution system analysis, design, and construction. Patrick has served on the MWWA Board of Directors since 2015 and has been a member of the Program Committee since 2010 where he most recently served as co-chair. He is looking forward to serving as President and assisting in MWWA’s commitment to the drinking water profession. Patrick’s Presidency will promote the new MWWA Vision Statement of professionalism, stewardship, and confidence in every drop.

“Tata & Howard has a longstanding relationship with the MWWA, and we are pleased to see Patrick take on this exciting new role with the organization,” says Paul Howard, Co-Founder and Senior Vice President of Tata & Howard. “Patrick’s passion and unwavering commitment to promoting clean and safe drinking water to the Massachusetts community will be a true asset as he assumes this position.”

The Massachusetts Water Works Association, Inc. is a membership organization dedicated to the advancement of the drinking water profession. Through education and advocacy, MWWA is committed to public health by promoting a safe and sufficient supply of drinking water to Massachusetts consumers.

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Founded in 1992, Tata & Howard, Inc. is a 100% employee-owned water, wastewater, and stormwater consulting engineering firm dedicated to consistently delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions in the water environment. Tata & Howard has gained a solid reputation as an industry leader in the Northeast by bringing knowledge, integrity, and dedicated service to all-sized markets, both public and private. The firm has offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Arizona. For more information, visit http://www.tataandhoward.com.

Click here to view full press release.

Tips for Proper Leaf Disposal This Fall

Tips for Proper Leaf Disposal This Fall

The leaves have just about fallen off all of the trees! Avoid clogging storm drains with these great tips for proper leaf disposal.

 

Please feel free to print and share our Tips for Proper Leaf Disposal Infographic with attribution to Tata & Howard, Inc. A high-resolution pdf can be downloaded by clicking here.

Mulch

Finely chopped leaves make for an excellent lawn fertilizer. Mulch leaves by running over them with your mower during the next cutting, and leave the remains on the lawn. You can also spread the mulch across flower and vegetable beds.

Compost

Composting leaves is a great way to create nutrient-rich soil. In a mixed pile, create a 2-to-1 ratio of dead leaves to grass clippings. Spreading leaves over food scraps will soak up moisture and help contain odors as well.

Protect Our Waterways

Avoid raking leaves into or nearby storm drains, ditches, creeks, or rivers. In addition to clogging the drains, decaying leaves use up the water’s oxygen, harming aquatic inhabitants.

 

Imagine a Day Without Water 2019

Imagine a Day Without Water 2019

Today, Tata & Howard joined elected officials, water utilities, community leaders, educators, and businesses from across the country as part of the fifth annual Imagine a Day Without Water, a nationwide day of education and advocacy about the value of water. Led by the Value of Water Campaign, a thousand organizations across the country will raise awareness about not taking water for granted and the crucial need for investment in our nation’s water systems.

Turning on the tap for clean, safe drinking water, and flushing the toilet with no second thought about what happens to wastewater, are actions most Americans take for granted every day. But drought, flooding, and population changes are stressing our water and wastewater systems. While most Americans enjoy reliable water service, our nation’s water infrastructure is aging and in need of investment. A day without water service is a public health and an economic disaster: a single nationwide day without water service would put $43.5 billion in economic activity at risk.

As water engineers, the Tata & Howard teams knows the importance of clean and reliable water — but how would our daily lives be affected if we even had one single day without out? To put this into perspective, we asked members of our team to answer three questions in reference to this.

  1. What does a day without water mean to you?
  2. What would you miss the most during a day without water?
  3. Why do you value water?

Check out the answers below!



Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity for diverse organizations, from environmental advocates to coffee shops, aquariums to car washes, city halls to water utilities, to talk about what water is important to them. Over the past five years, it has provided a platform for educating the public and advocating for leaders to prioritize investing in water today, so in the future no American will have to imagine a day without water. Learn more at imagineadaywithoutwater.org and follow the conversation on social media at #ValueWater.

Peter Goodwin joins Tata & Howard as new Office Manager in Salem, NH

Peter Goodwin joins Tata & Howard as new Office Manager in Salem, NH

SALEM, N.H. (PRWEB) OCTOBER 22, 2019

Tata & Howard, Inc., a Northeast leader in water engineering consulting, is pleased to welcome Peter Goodwin to the firm. Peter joins us as the new Office/Project Manager in the Salem, New Hampshire office. In this role, Goodwin will manage the Salem office while working directly with clients and a team of design engineers in a variety of civil engineering projects including pipelines, pump stations, and water/wastewater treatment facilities.

He has 35 years of municipal engineering consulting experience and is known in the industry for his strong business development experience with demonstrated success in company growth and expansion. His professional experience includes a wide range of water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental engineering projects, including planning, design, permitting, construction administration, operations, and funding assistance. Goodwin’s most recent experience has been associated with cutting edge technologies in asset management and trenchless rehabilitation/replacement of aging infrastructure.

“Peter’s extensive experience in project management and client services will be instrumental in the continued growth of our firm,” said Paul B. Howard, P.E., Senior Vice President and Co-Founder. “We are looking forward to his contributions and are excited to welcome him to the team.”

A graduate of Northeastern University, Goodwin holds a bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering and has been active in several state and regional professional associations. He is a current Board Member for the New Hampshire Public Works Association (NHPWA) as well as the Committee Chair for the New England Water Environment Association (NEWEA)-Veterans Workforce Development Committee. He is also a Past-President (2015) of the New Hampshire Water Pollution Control Association (NHWPCA) and former State Director for the Maine Water Environment Association (MEWEA).

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Founded in 1992, Tata & Howard, Inc. is a 100% employee-owned water, wastewater, stormwater, and environmental services consulting engineering firm dedicated to consistently delivering innovative, cost-effective solutions in the water environment. Tata & Howard has gained a solid reputation as an industry leader in the Northeast by bringing knowledge, integrity, and dedicated service to all-sized markets, both public and private. The firm has offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and Arizona. For more information, visit http://www.tataandhoward.com.

Click here to view full press release.

Gicumbi: DEFAST and D’Furious

James’ Rwanda Impact Tour Journal
Water for People Impact Tour Rwanda 2019
James Hoyt, P.E.


Day 4

Today is the last day of the tour and we spent the day in the Gicumbi District. Compared to Rulindo, the Water for People Everyone Forever program is relatively new to Gicumbi, but a great deal of progress has already been made.

After our final ‘Coffee Club’ visit to Question Coffee, went set out for the Gicumbi District and were hosted for a Mayoral visit. Although early in the Everyone Forever process, great progress has already been made, and the Mayor was optimistic they could reach every goal ahead of schedule. Once again, it was very encouraging to see the District Government supporting the Water for People work and committing to long term success.

 

Water Treatment Plant

Following our meeting with the Mayor, we conducted field visits to a small rural Water Treatment Plant, a decentralized sludge processing facility, a recently completed water distribution system, and a home visit.

Unlike the large WTF serving Kigali, the WTF we toured today was a small, rural plant that treats approximately 0.4 MGD of spring-fed water. The plant treats the water using lime pH adjustment, aeration, filtration and chlorination. The plant is looking to expand capacity by adding additional spring sources and upgrades to the treatment process.

DEFAST

A highlight for me as a wastewater engineer was touring the Decentralized Fecal Sludge Treatment (DEFAST). As sanitation facilities are installed through Rwanda, there is an increased demand for safe disposal of the pit latrine waste. Historically, when a pit would become full of waste, you would just dig a new pit beside it. With increased focus on sanitary conditions and space becoming limited, there is now a need for improved latrines to be serviced and emptied. The service must be affordable for homeowners. Although Water for People does not fund widespread sanitation infrastructure projects in the same way they fund water projects, they support sanitation improvements through education, technology research and recommendations, establishment of supply chains, and support of local businesses and entrepreneurs.

The DEFAST facility is an example of the Water for People sanitation approach. Water for People has helped a local solid waste business owner expand his business to include pumping, hauling and treatment of latrine sludge waste. A portable vacuum pump is used to empty the latrines, and the waste is brought to the DEFAST plant for treatment. The plant screens large debris and rubbish for onsite incineration. The waste is then stored in a settling tank for separation of liquid and solid waste. The liquid supernatant receives biological treatment in lagoons and filtration though artificial wetlands. The final liquid product is sold as liquid nutrients. The sludge is anaerobically digested and applied to sand drying beds. The dried product is stabilized with charcoal and sold as fertilizer for land application. The ability to sell the end products allows the economics of the process to reduce the price for individual homeowners.

The Impact of Our Dollars

We briefly visited a recently completed water system which provided a fascinating look into the impact our dollars can make in a Rwandan community. The project included new water infrastructure to serve over 33,000 beneficiaries and cost approximately $3.2M USD. The cost to bring water and sanitation to a community for the first time costs less than $100 per person. This is considered an expensive project by Water for People Rwanda standards, who typically target a cost of $65 per beneficiary.

Home Visit

Lastly, we visited another home. This home belonged to a widow who lost her husband to the Rwandan genocide. It was once again heart warming to hear of the positive impact water has had on her life. It was also comforting to see that the Rwandan government had provided her with a cow and that her community supported her by providing work opportunities.

The drive back was long, dark and winding. Driving in Rwanda is an intense experience. Vehicles often pass each other on narrow roads and get close to pedestrians and obstacles as they wind through the hilly countryside. The driving made several people nervous, but we were always delivered safely to our destinations. As we proceeded towards our farewell dinner, we drove through areas not yet reached by Water for People and saw countless school children and people returning from work, walking long distances in the dark, with no lights, often pushing bicycles comically loaded sky-high with goods. It was a sobering reminder of how much work is left to do.

Farewell, Water for People

The farewell dinner was bittersweet. The food and conversation were great. We shared stories and laughter with our new friends, but too soon it was time to say goodbye. We shared one last time our high and low points of the day, and shared our ideas from bringing our experiences home in a meaningful way.

Although the trip had come to an end, I knew that my Water for People journey was just beginning. I am excited to bring all I’ve learned home and to become a champion for Water for People.

High Point: My high point today was the visit to the DEFAST facility. It was fascinating to hear about the approach Water for People had taken to address the emerging problem of fecal sludge in Rwanda. It was also fun to engage with the staff about their challenges and discuss their ideas for improve control and performance of the facility.

Low Point: Saying goodbye to new friends.

Learn more about the Water Treatment Plants here.

Rulindo and the Pump Station with a View

Rulindo and the Pump Station with a View

James’ Rwanda Impact Tour Journal
Water for People Impact Tour Rwanda 2019
James Hoyt, P.E.


Day 3

The partnerships and cooperative spirit of the Water for People Everyone Forever model was on full display today in the Rulindo District. The day started with a meeting at the District Mayor’s office where the Water for People Rwanda staff led a conversation with the Mayor and Vice Mayors.

Rulindo District was the birthplace of the Everyone Forever approach. The community and institution milestones have been met, and Water for People projects that the household milestone will be met in early 2020. The Mayor and his staff were proud supporters of the program and demonstrated a strong commitment to the work being completed as well as sustaining the systems in the future. Most of all, they were proud of what has already been accomplished and how the work in Rulindo now serves as proof that the Everyone Forever model is truly effective.

Prior to the trip, I already had an understanding of the world’s water crisis and I had a high level of confidence in Water for People. My biggest question was regarding the sustainability of solutions and the long-term success of the communities when Water for People’s work was done. Hearing the District staff’s commitment to the Everyone Forever model, and seeing the long-term plans they’ve laid out was exciting. The District has initiated financial strategies to fund O&M of the infrastructure and have prioritized community outreach and education. Leaving the Mayor’s offices, I was impressed and excited to see the Rulindo District system in action.

Field Visits

Our field visits today included a pump station, a water storage tank, a school, and a private home — all of which provided a great cross section of the impacts that water and sanitation projects are having throughout the community. The pump station had the best view of any pump station I’ve been to — sitting atop a hill, overlooking countless acres of farmland.

The Pump Station with a View

The pump station conveys water collected from springs to storage tanks in the distribution system. There was also a water point just outside the pump station fence that provides free water to the station’s neighbors in recognition that the spring water, which traditionally served them, is now shared with the community.

 

School Visit

Another highlight of the day was our visit to a local school. We didn’t meet with any students as we did not want to to disrupt the learning, but we could hear them reciting lessons and hear their singing ring throughout the school campus. I couldn’t help but smile hearing it. We got a tour of the school campus and met several teachers, including the hygiene teacher. The Everyone Forever model includes providing water and sanitation to all schools. This school had potable drinking water, rainwater collection, and composting sanitation facilities.

The availability of water at the school alleviates the need for students to fetch water to bring to school each day, thus improving attendance. Attendance is especially improved for female students. The school features a room for young girls stocked with feminine hygiene products and a resting area to use as needed.

The addition of rainwater collection and composting toilets has allowed the school to increase harvesting of onsite crops from one harvest to three harvests per year.

Finally, the hygiene education is teaching students proper hygiene practices which they bring back to their families to implement in their own homes. One of my favorite statistics is that 20% of home sanitation improvements are credited as being student driven.

Home Visit

Last, but not least, we were graciously welcomed into the private home of a woman who lives in a village that recently experienced access to safe water. Access to water nearby has allowed her to focus on raising chickens and making linens for sale. She was also able to get a loan from the local hygiene committee to install improved sanitation at her home. It is common practice for members of the community to pool money each month to help fund improvements for a community member. The money is paid back with a small amount of interest. It’s a great example of the local community coming together to improve the quality of life for its members.  

High Point: The entire day felt like one giant high point, but if I had to choose, I’d say visiting the school topped the list. It was so encouraging to see education and improved water/sanitation come together to provide opportunities for the next generation. These students are growing up with an understanding of the importance of water and sanitation, providing hope for continued success and improvement of life in Rwanda.

Low Point: I tried to come up with a low point for today, but it all felt like nit-picking. What a great day!

Click here to see some of the differences between the Rulindo ‘Pump Station with a view’ and ones we have designed here in New England!

Passion, Inspiration, and Dirty Hands

Passion, Inspiration, and Dirty Hands

James’ Rwanda Impact Tour Journal
Water for People Impact Tour Rwanda 2019
James Hoyt, P.E.


Day 2

Today kicked off with a workshop at the Water for People Rwanda office in Kigali. Perpetue and her team at the office lead a fascinating and inspiring discussion of Water for People’s work in Rwanda moving towards the Everyone Forever goal .

Water for People’s “Everyone Forever” model was born in Rwanda. This approach is brilliant, because it involves a lot more than projects. It is a system of partnerships promoting cooperation and ownership from local businesses, organizations and government. It is important that solutions be sustainable to allow for success to continue long after Water for People has left a district.

As the team delved into the details and peppered the Rwanda staff with questions, it became clear they had simple, common sense answers for some very complex issues. The people of Rwanda are in great hands.

The team took a break halfway through the presentation to stretch and play some games that are used to teach children hygiene skills. The first game was designed to show the importance of proper hand washing. Six cans are stacked in a pyramid on top of a picture of hands. The cans have images of dirt, germs and diseases. Students take turns throwing soap (green balls) at the cups until the hands are all clean. It was our turn to play. The staff looked for volunteers to kick off the game. I confidently strode to the front of the line, grabbed a soap ball, went into the wind-up, and let it rip.

It was truly impressive just how badly I missed the cans, but I did manage to hit an unsuspecting security guard. I had very generously set the bar low, for my fellow handwashers. There were a lot of laughs, and even more dirty hands. If you’re wondering if I managed to redeem myself on subsequent throws . . . not really.

Following the second half of the workshop and a team lunch, we set off into the field. We traveled to the Kicukiro District, which includes parts of Kigali. The first stop was a water treatment facility. The plant uses the Nyabarongo River as its source and provides water for 60% of Kigali’s 5M population. The average day demand produced at the facility is almost 16 MGD. The plant employs mechanically-cleaned screens, coagulation and flocculation, two-stage sand/anthracite filtration, and chlorination. Finally, the treated water is pumped to a storage tank 1,200 feet above the plant. At the time of our visit, the source water, as seen in the photo, had a turbidity of 865 NTU. The treated water achieved a turbidity of 0.40 NTU. The plant was impressive to see, and as clean as any facility we see back home.

Our last stop for the day was a water point installed in the Kicukiro district. The water point was installed as part of the Water for People effort in this district. Before this water point was installed, water was fetched from a swamp, a four-hour round trip journey. We met the water seller, a local resident who donated the land where the water point was installed. She operates and maintains the water point and collects the water fee of 200 Rwandan Francs for each 20 liter water can. This equates to approximately $0.04 per gallon. Each month the water distribution system operators read the water meter and she pays them for the water, keeping a small profit for her work operating and maintaining the water point.

It was very heartwarming to see how proud the community was of their water point and to hear how women and children were using the time saved to seek opportunities for work and education. This interaction was the high point for me on a day with many great moments.

High & Low

High Point: Meeting the water seller and learning firsthand the real difference Water for People is making in people’s lives. It is one thing to read the success stories, but it’s so much more impactful to meet the people impacted and talk to them about their lives and experiences.

Low Point: Today the low point was being out in the field and seeing how difficult life is for many of the people there. Despite all the great work being done, there is a lot more work to do. In the meantime,  there are a lot of people, including children, who live in conditions that frankly, just aren’t good enough yet.

 

A Day of Broken Hearts, Hope, and Inspiration

A Day of Broken Hearts, Hope, and Inspiration

James’ Rwanda Impact Tour Journal
Water for People Impact Tour Rwanda 2019
James Hoyt, P.E.


Day 1

Today was the official start of the Water for People Impact Tour to Rwanda. The goal: get to know the group, and learn about Rwanda’s history, people and culture.

The day started with broken hearts. Our first stop was the Kigali Genocide Memorial. Visiting the memorial was an incredibly moving experience unlike anything I’ve experienced before. The Memorial features three exhibits which describe the Rwandan Genocide of the Tutsis, the history of genocidal violence around the world, and a special tribute to the children who lost their lives during the Rwandan Genocide. The memorial also serves as a burial site for more than 250,000 victims. As many as 1,000,000 people were brutally murdered during the Rwandan Genocide.

Each exhibit was powerful and moving. Learning of the senseless violence left me bewildered, angry, and heartbroken. It was the children’s room that I think will have the most lasting impact on me. The room serves as a tribute to the thousands of children who were killed during the genocide. The room features several child victims with exhibits that include a photograph, a short biography, and the means of their death. It was upon seeing the photograph of a young girl, the same age as my daughter, and reading of her death by machete that I succumbed to grief and 90 minutes of suppressed tears came all at once, unrelenting.

Hope & Inspiration

As difficult as it was to read of the brutal violence, see the horrific photographs, and hear the painful accounts of survivors, I am so grateful for the experience to visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial. It is a place of learning – we must learn from the Rwandan genocide and never allow anything like this to happen again. It is a place of hope and inspiration – the genocide occurred only 25 years ago and Rwanda already has experienced a great deal of healing. Ethnicity has been removed from IDs and the Gacaca justice system allowed for communities to share information and resolve conflicts. This inclusive approach is credited with speeding up national unity and reconciliation following the genocide. Agaseke, also known as peace baskets, have become a symbol of reconciliation and unity after the genocide. The baskets are a nested set and feature a zig-zag like pattern which represent two women holding hands.

Exploring Kigali

Following the memorial visit, we had a guided bus tour of Kigali. The tour included sightseeing, a history of the city, a visit to a local market, and a trip to the hills to see the city sprawled across the hillsides.

A highlight of the tour was Sunday brunch at the Hotel des Mille Collines. The hotel is also known as the “Hotel Rwanda” and as depicted in the movie Hotel Rwanda, the hotel protected over 1,200 refugees during the Rwandan Genocide. Brunch also allowed for the tour group and served as an opportunity to get to know each other. We did introductions and discussed the individual goals of each tour member. The Rwanda Impact Tour consists of an inspiring group of people passionate about the water crisis and making a positive difference.

Next was a visit to a lively village market full of seamstresses making clothing to order, and seemingly endless rows of stalls packed with handicrafts, fresh fruit, supplies, and butchered meat. The chaotic scene was a bit overwhelming, but for those who love to haggle, there were deals to score.

Finally, we had the welcome dinner at a great French restaurant where we shared our experiences of day one.  Each person shared their high point and low point of the day. The beer I ordered ended up being non-alcoholic, but even that couldn’t take away from a day I will never forget.

High & Low

High Point: Visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial and learning of the resilience and forgiveness of the Rwandan

Low Point: As a father, the children’s room was very difficult to process.

 

Prologue – Welcome to Rwanda

Prologue – Welcome to Rwanda

James’ Rwanda Impact Tour Journal
Water for People Impact Tour Rwanda 2019
James Hoyt, P.E.



Arrival

Despite some last-minute flight drama, Jenna and I arrived in Rwanda Friday night (September 6). After a brief, but exhilarating drive dodging motorbikes, we arrived at the Hotel Chez Lando. We were welcomed by our Water for People trip coordinators, met a few fellow tour participants, and enjoyed our first African beer.

Stepping into my room, a mosquito net canopy on the bed reminded me that we were not at home. Exhausted from 24 hours of travel, I went to bed excited for the adventure about to begin.

Exploring Kigali

Saturday we teamed up with our new Water for People friends to explore Kigali, the capital city of Rwanda. The day got off to a perfect start, with a perfect cup of coffee. Question Coffee is powered by Rwandan Women Farmers and supplied by sustainable growers. Each drink is expertly and meticulously hand-crafted. Jenna and I formed “Coffee Club”, a group of individuals who got up an hour early to make the daily pilgrimage.
 

Sufficiently caffeinated, we donned a shiny red helmet and hopped on the back of a motorbike, which serves as the most common taxi option in Kigali. We were dropped off at the Inema Art Center, which features local artists. The artwork featured bright, bold colors and the beauty and originality of the art was a clear reflection of Rwanda itself.

Our adventure wrapped up with a visit to a local market and milk bar. Against the advice of wiser people, three brave (perhaps foolish?) souls found a local milk bar where a traditional unpasteurized, fermented milk drink is served. Prior to the trip, I reluctantly promised friends and loved ones that I would not eat street-meat; however, I never agreed to avoid questionable dairy products. The milk was thick and creamy. The taste reminded me of unsweetened Greek yogurt. It was a fun experience, but moving forward I think I’ll stick to coffee.

Meeting the WFP Team

The day ended with a team dinner where we got to meet the rest of the group who would be joining us on the Water for People Impact Tour. Dinner featured traditional Rwandan dishes. I tried Akabenz (the Mercedes Benz of pork)  and beef brochettes (bbq skewers). Jenna ordered the “I Gisafuriya” a traditional stew of chicken, potato, banana  and another vegetables served in a large pot meant to be shared by a family. Jenna was kind enough to share and it was delicious! The food was all great and no one left hungry. 

Overall, it was a real pleasure to meet the passionate group who traveled halfway across the world with the common goal of water for everyone, forever. Welcome to Rwanda!