Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill

Its been a while, after my trip to Neustadt on the Baltic Sea, i literally 'packed' the 'boys' in the car and headed to the Mountains of Salzburg in Austria......it was a great 7 days! i didnt get to ride  The Untersberg cable-car but i had an amazing time and ofcourse visited the birthplace of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart...
Anyway back to our Journey....
Before i left for the mountains, our much awaited container carrying the coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill; Rutuma Cooperative arrived at the port of Bremen. 

I couldnt make it to Bremen, but my Partner - the one person who gave my village the hope of development through sustainable coffee production was there to receive the coffee.
Nicole Boedtger receiving the coffee from Ndurutu Wet mill in Bremen

offloading the Ndurutu coffee in Bremen-Germany

I will highlight a bit of information about Ndurutu  Mill and how much this means to me.
When i was growing up we used to deliver our coffee at the Marua cooperative which is appx. 5km from the village of Ndurutu. All the farmers from the villages of Ndurutu, Kahiga, Kirichu, Kanuna,Ndathiini, Kiganjo to mention but a few would join in clusters and have a 'collection point' where the tractor from Marua made its slow than ever journeys collecting the produce to be wet processed at the mill in Marua. Our collection point was at the mainroad on the turn to Ndurutu village on the Kiganjo- Nanyuki road. This meant endless hours and ques of us children waiting at these collection points for our produce to be weighed and documented...in this time our parents would be running other chores.
I remember how my childhood friends and 'gang members ' like John Murage, Joyce Wanjiru, Lawrence Mwangi etc would devise 'mean' ways and be ahead of the que....and then my amazing brother Davie discovered that he could 'literally camp' at the collection centre, using and empty sack on the que he would secure a place for me and my sister as we struggled with heavy loads of the coffee sacks on our back, terkking 1 1/2 kms from our Hilly farm, under the hot African sun....

women farmers delivering coffee

The coffee from Ndurutu wet mill means a lot to all of us at Chania Coffee and Kedovo e.V because this mill was put up by the then Marua Farmers Cooperative Society in 1996.We were all old enough to help with digging the trenches, passing on the heavy stones...etc
Our parents constructed the mill because the whole village was tired of trekking 5 kms with coffee sacks on our backs, in the hot January weather, in the chilly foggy July weather, in the rainy muddy Sept weather...All the villages came in numbers and the mill was constructed ...for days and nights. Our parents still to date deliver their coffee to this mill...its the 'jewel' of the village.
My mother now doesnt walk 5kms with the coffee on her back, she walks 500 metres to the mill!! my brother says she even leaves onions frying on the pan, delivers her coffee and shes back in the kitchen before the onions brown ;)  
With the purchase of this coffee, my partner Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen has supported our development work. The next couple of months the team in KEDOVO-Kenya will be so busy intiating and facilitating our various projects:

Ndurutu Wet Mill
 This time we will support the education requirements for the children of Ndurutu Primary School, the team will identify the most pressing issues and we will fully support those children and empower them with the gift of Education in conducive environments- our work will range from purchase of uniforms, support with school fees, support with text books, purchase of new desks, renovations of blackboards and classrooms etc

classroom ndurutu primary school.
We will work with the Neema Caregivers, a group of 10 dedicacted women who labour beyond odds to cater for their families and still have time and energy to take care of the Neema Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre; the centre that we support to ensure those formers street kids have a roof, an education and a future...
Kedovo kenya will launch, train,facilitate & monitor Income Generating Projects for these women- how they can set up small businesses that can generate income and lead to self reliance...

Soni with the Neema Women group

We will expand our project of Sustainable coffee farming and incoporate 10 more farmers to the intial pilot project. These farmers will undergo intensive trainings on Agronomy as well as Agribusiness- to us coffee production should give the farmers a decent income.We can have all the certifications there is in the world of coffee, but they will be irrelevant to our producers if they cannot feed their families....

We will dig up the Kedovo farm in Chaka and realise our training project of Enähr das Dorf- Feed the village.The team in Kenya will train the community on best sustainable farming practises that are not dependent on climate and weather patterns.


To my dear Roasters in Germany, our partners in this journey, all the people who continue believing in our journey,we have a lot of work ahead of us... lets make it happen.
We are currently offerring the Ndurutu coffee, late harvest 2013/ 2014 F.O.T Bremen- transport to other destination within Germany arrangable at a cost. 
Please contact Nicole Boedtger or Soni Schneidewind for samples, price quoatations and contracting.

To my partner Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen, thankyou for giving my farmers a chance to thrive, for giving their children a chance to better education, thankyou for giving me and my people a chance to tell our story....

Our journey continues....

signed Soni

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Partnerships and Cooperation Development

5 years ago if my friend Mercy Mutunga and former collegue had told me that i would be standing infront of young high school students discussing Cooperation & Sustainable Development in a far off land, i would have brushed it off and told her to get a life or simply order another glass of martini..... anyway i will write about Mercy one day and our lives back then ;)
So....5 years later instead of sitting in the Nairobi traffic for hours, fighting the undisciplined Matatu drivers under the scorching African sun, without a hope when the traffic jam was gonna end, i stood infront of a class in a far away land in a small town by the Baltic See, the town of Neustadt in Schleswig Holstein Germany.

The presentation for today was facilitated by someone i hardly knew, someone who just stumbled on my Website and believed in my work; Herr Marcel Krolow- the Geography teacher at the Küstengymnasium Neustadt.

Marcel the teacher ;)

Today i presented the work of Kedovo e.V in regards to Sustainable Development for the community of the Aberdare Mountains, the land of my people. What exactly entails a community that is practising SD? is Sustainable Development really achievable or is it just a word that just gets thrown around? Can rural communities in a far off village attain self reliance?
When i founded Kedovo e.V (Kenya Dorf Volunteers) this was based on a strong conviction that if my people were facilitated with ideas and hope, they would bring out their capabilities and capacities.The time had come to break the cycle of poverty, disease and drought among the cofee producing community in Nyeri, and this could only be achieved through knowledge transfers and Partnerships that would open up the world for them...and only through this, could they achieve 'Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe as one of the students in the presentation summarized it today......that is the only way that my people can be Self-reliant.

It hasnt been easy, but I havent lost that belief.......i havent lost the hope.
Through the Kedovo's Elimu's Project we showcase a different type of Kenya, a Kenya that is not raged with poverty, disease and war....but a real Kenya where my farmers still toil in their coffee fields daily, with a hope of 'when tomorrow comes' , where my mother still goes to the coffee fields with her basket in the July fog and rain, where my neighbour despite being aged 70 years still prunes his coffee in readiness for a new harvest... where we know and now believe that Sustainable Development through coffee farming is achievable, where we now plant coffee bushes again in the hope of a better market tomorrow, where through our project we bring in the aspect of Globales lernen, Nachhaltige Entwicklung und Entwicklungzusammenarbeit.
And yes sustainable development is achievable for the developing world, they might have a long way to go but all they need is facilitation and guidance....and we can open up up the world for them by forming honest Partnerships from both sides..........
Today i rest knowing that i have brought the journey of my village further, i hope that i left a mark in Neustadt where they have now a different understanding on how sustainable development can be achieved, i rest knowing that its not easy but cooperation development is important, i rest knowing that some community today did first see for the first time how a coffee bush looks like, i rest knowing that there is hope....

And i listened and noted down how we can work together with the people who believe in what am doing...

And i let them learn how Partnerships can work.....

And we discussed.....

And then we did what we do best......roasting coffee

Our Journey continues..........

Signed Soni.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Kaltenkirchen becomes a Fairtrade Town

The Fairtrade Towns campaign movement started in the UK in the year 2001.
A Fairtrade Town is any community in which people and organisations use their everyday choices to increase sales of Fairtrade products and bring about positive change for farmers and workers in developing countries.

The town of Kaltenkirchen started this campaign in the year 2012 and we joined the Intiative group in Oct 2013.
Becoming a Fairtrade Town is a shared achievement and an opportunity for local government, schools, businesses, community organisations and activists to work together.

Fairtrade Intiative group-Kaltenkirchen

To become a Fairtrade Town, a community needs to meet certain goals and criterias that are set and monitored at national levels. The town of Kaltenkirchen has met all the criteria required and tomorrow my new home officially becomes a Fairtrade Town.
Ofcourse in our situation we took the step of Fairtrade further by working directly with the coffee producers in Nyeri and importing their coffee directly, intiating & facilitating rural development projects and inturn making sure money is put back to these improvished coffee producing communities...

The community of Kaltenkirchen has its own 'community coffee' ; Kaki Kahawa which is produced by the community of Karindundu -Barichu Cooperative Nyeri Kenya.The coffee is available at the Ein Welt Laden of the VHS Kaltenkirchen, Chania Coffee Online shop as well as at our coffee stand every saturday at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmarkt. The coffee is available both as whole beans and ground coffee.

And so we get ready.......tomorrow we showcase the work and efforts of Kedovo e.V towards sustainable development for the community of a remote village somewhere near the Aberdare mountains; the village of my birth. 

 And so.....to those who can make it tomorrow, the event beginns at 9:30- 14:00 we will be outside the Rathaus , visit the Fairen Markt and get to buy amazing stuff from all over the world, the Ein Welt Laden of the VHS will present various products ranging from handmade kiondos ( sisal baskets) from a women group in Machakos Kenya, to Cocoa produced in Munyenge in Cameroon, Tee produced by the great people of Kanchanjunga in Nepal...Kaki Kahawa (Coffee) produced by the community of Karindundu Nyeri Kenya etc....

From 14:00-15:00 will be the handing over of the Fairtrade Town Certificate to the Mayor of Kaltenkirchen by Transfair of Bonn and afterwards there will be an interaction and networking in ambiante atmosphere as you get to savour our Fairtrade Buffet that will take you from the kitchens of Kenya, through Ghana , India , before settling with the delicious Pao de Queijo from Brazil! 

See you there.....