“I was a trainee and, at the same time, a trainer for the “African way” of making cakes”

Rebecca Biira from Kasese in Uganda works as head of kitchen and trainer at the Rwenzori Royal Institute. She talks about her experiences as a Team works! participant in Germany, what she shared and learnt at Kaffee Wippler GmbH, Konditorei Wippler in Dresden (in the Federal State of Saxony) and which aspects surprised her during her stay.

Rebecca Biira

Rebecca Biira from Kasese in Uganda is trained in Hotel Management and Catering. After her apprenticeship, she started working as a waitress in a resort and later changed her job to become a receptionist in an international hotel.

Das Interview

What company was your assignment in? What were your main activities?

I did my Team works! assignment at Kaffee Wippler. There, I was a trainee and, at the same time, a trainer for the “African way” of making cakes.

The foreground of the picture shows Rebecca, a young professional from Uganda. She is wearing an apron and a baker’s cap and is working with dough. In the background, three of her colleagues from Kaffee Wippler are watching.
Rebecca from Kasese, Uganda, working at Kaffee Wippler

What did you learn during your assignment, whether from your colleagues, supervisors or independently? And which of your skills were you able to pass on?

I learnt how to use things like yoghurt, chocolate and icing to make various cakes with fruits, like macarons.
I also developed my people skills by spending time with different people. For instance, the Wippler family invited me to their home and it was really lovely to meet them. The love my colleagues showed me taught me to always show love to other people regardless of their skin colour or other traits. The thing that gave me most food for thought was time management. That taught me to always be on time for my students’ lessons back home too. And I was able to talk to the people I worked with about our different lifestyles.

Why did you choose Team works! and the AGYO?

Because of the organisations’ vision. What I especially like are the goals of fighting hunger on the two continents, promoting self-employment for young people and strengthening ties between people from African countries and Germany.

The Saxon Minister of Culture and Tourism, Barbara Klepsch, is bending over the worktop, watching and chatting to Rebecca as she concentrates on dipping doughballs into melted chocolate.
Barbara Klepsch, Saxon Minister of Culture and Tourism, visiting Rebecca during her assignment in Dresden.

What surprised you the most during your assignment in Germany?

I was surprised by the way the people sell and eat bread on the streets and by the 9 Euro public transport ticket, which was offered in Germany during my assignment. I was also surprised that there weren’t any animals like elephants or lions when I visited a wildlife park in Germany ;-).

The way people dress in the summer and their relationship to prayers habits came as a surprise too.

What are the advantages of being in a tandem team with a SES expert?

There are various advantages. One is that it improves the relationship between individuals with different skills and experience. Through good mentorship, young experts can significantly develop their skills. Another advantage is that it encourages both sides to develop a team spirit.
Now, by adapting some of the skills others have shared with me, I´ll be able to pass them on to my students and other people.

Two baking sheets on display on a table, each bearing small round cakes with strawberries, raspberries and blueberries on them.
A picture that would have lots of people licking their lips.

What advice would you give to other young people who are interested in doing an assignment in Germany?

I would advise other young experts to always listen to their supervisors during their assignment and to see time-keeping as their top priority at work. Also, I strongly recommend them to always follow the rules and regulations. Lastly, I would also tell them to keep the recommendations document they receive after their assignment because it might be important for their CV.

Please name three things or experiences that you’re taking away from your assignment.

I´ll take away what I learnt about making cakes with different fruits, but also about the challenges and opportunities involved in opening up cake takeaway shops like Kaffee Wippler. Overall, this assignment also showed me how important it is to work as a team.

The young Ugandan professional is standing surrounded by five of her colleagues from Kaffee Wippler.
Rebecca and her colleagues at Kaffee Wippler.

What will you never forget?

I’ll never forget the day I arrived in Frankfurt and had bread and sausage for lunch. It was the first time I’d ever eaten a meal like that. I´ll also never forget the boat trip with the Saxonian Minister of Culture and Tourism Barbara Klepsch. Another personal highlight was being accompanied on the tour by a representative from the Senior Experten Service (SES), Laurence Bayer. Being welcomed to Saxony’s parliament by Minister of State Oliver Schenk was a great surprise too. I’ll never forget that.

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