finding meaning in the ordinary

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when nathalie packed up her life in belgium and moved to kigali with her husband and kids, she opened a door for the universe to conspire on her behalf for opportunities that gave more out of life.

with the idea of joining the food business, they founded poivre noir, a passion project fueled by their joint love for food. after 3 years of learning and mastership, their vision remains to support an industry that allows them to squeeze as much as possible out of life while enjoying and sharing the fruits of their labour.

today, nathalie works on ways to find time for herself in the midst of being a partner to her husband both in marriage and in business and raising two daughters whose livelihoods depend on her. the balance has been a lesson on cultivating a life that reflects her needs regardless of popular opinion. one afternoon, we caught up with to talk about these experiences and more. read our conversation below.

Narrated by gem

can you share something about yourself that would give a stranger context to the person you are today?

i’ve been living in kigali since 2014 where i opened a restaurant with my husband. i’m born to a rwandan mother and a belgian father but i really feel comfortable anywhere thanks to the fact i grew up abroad. i am very curious and i love changes.

kanye west recently tweeted, “you have to protect your ability to create at all costs.” how do you carve out space to grow your projects while being super mom to your daughters and partner to your husband?

i try to keep some personal time. when you are married, a mother and working with your husband, it can be difficult to keep “me time” but it is necessary. at first, you can sometimes think you are selfish but it is not. i am a better mother, wife and partner when i take some rest from all my duties. i try to take a few days alone every two months to just enjoy the silence and the solitude. otherwise, having a tea or a lunch alone in one of my favorite spots also helps.

what practices have you changed or added to your days in light of what entrepreneurship demands?

finishing what you start is very very important. i was not like that before starting the journey of an entrepreneur, i was doing lot of things but gave up before finishing. entrepreneurship asked me to change that. also, i really try to wake up early, i am more efficient in the morning so i need my mornings to begin early. i’m also learning that asking questions is a plus. if you don’t know, try to talk to someone who does. asking questions may help you a lot and save a lot of your time.

you share a lot about your love for food on your social platforms. what do you think the meaning of sharing food is?

i grew up in a family where inviting people to eat was a big deal. i remember my mother cooking all day when we had guests and when i was home, i would help her. she put a lot of love in it. it’s the same for me. when i cook i do it with a lot of love. i am so happy when people can have a good moment at my table. there is a quote that says that food is love made edible. i truly believe it.

what are you giving most of your time to right now?

the restaurant that i run with my husband, my girls. i’m also trying to figure out what will be my next project. i love the the fact i can conceptualize, plan and realize something.

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