Gitesi is a private washing station owned and run by a father and son team, Alexis and Aime Gahizi. The washing station was built in 2005 and began processing coffee in 2006, it is located in the Gitesi sector in the Western Province of Rwanda. In the early years they were struggling to keep the washing station operating, and they have fought hard to make it a profitable business. Finally in 2010, they managed to turn a profit and have since built a sustainable company.
Alexis is originally from the Karongi District where Gitesi is located, and his family has been growing coffee in this region for generations. Gitesi has very strong relationships with the farmers in the local community, there are over 1,800 coffee farmers who deliver cherry to Gitesi. The washing station has also implemented a bonus system for farmers based on performance, so besides the normal pay for their cherry directly at delivery they will be paid out a bonus after the season is wrapped up and Gitesi has had the time to document all delivery and which lots performed better and are eligible for the bonus.
Aime has a degree in engineering and has created a very comprehensive water purification system for the washing station, to such an extent that it is being used to model future water purification systems for washing stations.
Gitesi also has its own land on which it is growing coffee, with plans to expand this. As Aime explained, this is to both directly control and manage the quality of their production, and to ensure supply.