umudugudu: village

In the Northern Province of Rwanda, there is the Musanze district, which is where the Zamura feed mill and egg farm resides as well as all of the current Tworore Ikoko Twenguke (TI) farmers. And in the Musanze district, there is the Kinigi sector; and in the Kinigi sector is the Kaguhu cell; in the Kaguhu cell is the village Kabeza. "Village" is my favorite word in Kinyarwandan: umudugudu. It's so fun to say. 

Donnie Smith (ASAP founder), Matt Lawson (a Tyson Fellow helping advise our project), and I visited the Kinigi sector where 29 of our TI farmers can be found (our current count of farmers is over 130). Fabian, one of the TI service techs, took us to the Kabeza umudugudu to pick up chickens for market and visit farmers. 

Immediately, we were greeted by the village leader, Emmanuel. Emmanuel is the farmer whose chickens we needed to pick up; so while Matt and he were catching chickens, Donnie and I were going from farm to farm. We were able to visit 6 farms maybe within a quarter mile of one another. 

Fabian, Farmer, Emmanuel

And of course we drew a crowd. But that was perfect. Fabian would show one farmer what needed to be adjusted on his house; by the time we made it to the 3rd farm, that adjustment was made on every house in the community. You can almost touch the desperation our farmers feel to be successful. Their children are watching and learning as well. They may not be allowed to go in the chicken house (for biosecurity reasons), but they are taking notes as Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa transform their lifestyles. 

Kinigi Visit 7-Daddy and daughter.JPG

Donnie doesn't let anything slip. He wanted each house perfect - curtains set for the right amount of air, feeders set for the right amount of feed. As we were visiting our last houses, I saw a glimpse of perfection. I saw the kids and the bicycle taxi driver/chicken farmer going from house to house telling everyone we didn't visit what Donnie had told the last farmer. 

We cannot give them a break. If we accept anything less than perfect, they will. They are going to be the best farmers in Rwanda. They will set an example for everyone else on the continent.
— Donnie Smith, former Service Tech and CEO at Tyson Foods, Founder of ASAP

And as we left, I was reminded of a universal truth. Regardless of the country or the language, the poultry industry is a people business. Our service techs are not only the partner of the farmer or the family, but also the community. They must be aware of not only the health and dynamics of he birds, but also the dynamics of the community. The sensitivity and care Fabian showed for the Kabeza umudugudu was exemplified through his attentiveness to their flocks and families. This is how we enable, educate, and empower. 

Fabian debriefing our visit with the village leader and farmer, Emmanuel.