Angelo Iragena & the UGHE Butaro Campus Kitchen: Encountering Health Equity

Angelo Iragena, One of UGHE’s contractors, preparing meals in the UGHE Butaro Campus Kitchen.

Angelo Iragena, one of the UGHE Butaro Campus chefs, has enjoyed cooking since he was a child. That enthusiasm drove him to study culinary arts and eventually become the professional chef he is today. Angelo enjoys his job since it has a good impact on people’s lives. “It brings me pleasure to prepare  various meals for others and to enable them to maintain  a healthy lifestyle.” People’s lives, according to Angelo, would be endangered if there were no people who are enthusiastic about what they do and are capable of making healthy meals for others.

Angelo learned about UGHE via one of its suppliers, La Paillotte, in the Northern Province where UGHE’s Butaro Campus is situated. The UGHE Butaro campus is located 80 miles north of Rwanda’s capital city, Kigali, in a rural area of Butaro district. This was something that surprised Angelo, ‘It was odd since I was accustomed to looking for the best schools in urban areas.’ Angelo became interested in UGHE’s mission to help the most vulnerable since then. He contacted different people, browsed through the UGHE website, and explored social media platforms to get a better understanding of the university. After being recruited as one of the campus kitchen team, he was delighted when he finally joined the UGHE Butaro Campus. 

When he arrived on campus, he was taken aback by the beauty of the campus, the diverse population, as well as the friendly students, staff, and faculty. He has been working at UGHE’s Butaro campus for three years as a Chef. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, and Angelo applauds UGHE’s COVID-19 protocols which were put in place in the early stages of the pandemic to prevent the spread of the virus.

I can testify that these precautions are effective in keeping everyone on our team and on our campus safe and healthy during the pandemic.”

As a chef who prepares meals for students, staff, and faculty, Angelo owns the responsibility to protect others and himself from infection. As such, he adheres to the campus’s preventative measures and policies.

I have ceased all movements outside of campus and attend regular Covid-19 tests on campus; if I am required to go outside, I practice self-isolation. I’m relieved that it has been two weeks since I had my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine; it’s important that we all get vaccinated as there is hope that it will help reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading,” he says. 

Angelo is inspired by UGHE’s strong culture of humility. Students, staff, and teachers all treat him and his colleagues with dignity and respect, and they offer any necessary support. He likens them to his family. He expresses gratitude to the university’s leadership because, while many people in other organizations were asked to leave their jobs during the pandemic, UGHE allowed him and his colleagues to keep their jobs and also advocated for campus contractors, including him, to get vaccinated – a sign of value and respect of their dignity as they are among the key contributors to the campus’s health