Over the weekend an old friend introduced me to a place I didn’t know, the Rz Manna Café in Nyarutarama, which proved to be a pleasant experience.
When I entered the comfy Korean café, a waitress welcomed me, showed me to a table and brought the menu. Since my friend hadn’t arrived yet, I decided to order just some apple juice, which already gave me taste of things to come since it was pure juice, with no water added. They also make mango juice, avocado, passion fruit and pineapple juice.
As I waited for my friend, I was told that there was 4G-LTE Internet access, and I immediately used this fast connection to browse a bit on my phone to kill the time.
Later, I took a little stroll around the café to get to know it better. Both expatriates and Rwandans were enjoying their meal in the plush premises with a beautiful decor on the walls. I happened to run into the managing director of the cafe, Jeong Saesaem, and during a little chat she explained that Rz Manna is not just a café, but a social enterprise with the objective of creating employment for local people.
“We opened in August 2013, and our primary motive was to reduce poverty among the local people by creating employment. We have 30 workers who benefit from training at the café, and we also hope to groom a Rwandan managing director in a few years’ time,” Jeong said.
She also explained that Rz Manna café is a joint venture between Koica (the Korean International Co-operation Agency) and Handong Glove University.
By the time our chat was over, my friend had arrived, so we sat and ordered breakfast which consisted of waffles, espresso coffee (they also have mocha and latte) and mocha cake. The waiters and waitresses were brisk and cordial, so we did not wait long.
Jean Baptiste Tuyisabe, the master barrister who came to ask whether we were enjoying our meal, said that when the management at Rz Manna wants to assign an employee to a new task, they first arrange training so that the employee gets the adequate skills for the job.
“Before I got employed here, I was doing temporary jobs with Bralirwa. I was lucky to land a job at Rz Manna when they were just opening, and I have learnt a lot of things from them. I’m now able to make good coffee, cakes, stick pie, baguettes, and more. Some international restaurant reviewers like Willing-Time wrote an article praising my skills as one of the best barristers in Rwanda, and this helped me a lot, as the management promoted me to master barrister and head of service at the café,” Tuyisabe said proudly.
He added that other workers have benefitted from classes in baking and cake-decoration to hone their skills. As a result, Rz Manna offers mocha cake, which has a taste of coffee, butter-dom cake with vanilla, and Black Forest cake made with chocolate. They also do pastries and sandwiches, and among the drinks they also have smoothies.
Having finished our delicious breakfast, we fully agreed with the restaurant reviewers who rank Rz Manna among the top coffee parlours in Rwanda. Their wonderful food is certainly worth a penny.