Milk is a favorite drink in Rwanda, and milk bars serve it up in abundance, fresh or fermented, hot or cold. “When you drink milk, you always have your head straight and your ideas right.

“I love milk,” said Jean Bosco Nshimyemukiza, the motorcycle taxi driver, as he sipped from a large glass of fresh milk that left a residual white line on his upper lip. “Milk makes you calm,” he said, smiling. “It reduces stress. It heals you.”

Mr. Nshimyemukiza and the others were all seated at a milk bar, one of the hundreds found everywhere in the capital, Kigali, and scattered all across this small nation of 12 million people in central Africa. In Rwanda, milk is a beloved drink and the milk bars are a favorite place to indulge, combining the pleasures of the beverage with a communal atmosphere.

Men and women, young and old, sit on benches and plastic chairs throughout the day, glass mugs before them, gulping liters upon liters of fresh milk or fermented, yogurt-like milk, locally known as “ikivuguto.”

© Copyright LaPresse