Monday, March 30, 2015

The Story of my People

There is a world and a story behind every coffee, ours is the story of my people. 
Its March, my mother wipes her soil covered hand on her skirt and shrugs with a far away look towards the mountains. Like the rest of the farmers in the village, shes busy weeding our small farm, in readiness for the harvest which begins towards the end of May.Then there will be a bust of activities in the village, women carrying big burlap bags full of coffee on their backs, tredging along the hillside, for there are no lead pack horses to help with the weight...
The ridge is full of small scale farms,with unripened green cherries that are not yet ready to pick.

the unripened cherries from all over the ridge
 My family just like most of the other families in the village pays a handful of neighbours who help with the harvest.
My mother is worried, it hasnt rained in months and this might affect this season's harvest- the far away look towards the mountains is in the hope that Mwene Nyaga will answer their prayers. She is anxious if the village will have enough coffee to send to Germany:
Two weeks ago MSC Tasmania sailed from the port of Mombasa Kenya bound for the port of Bremerhaven in Germany via Abdullah City on the Red Sea. On board the vessel is our 20 ft container carrying the coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill; Ndurutu Village the village of my people.
Tasmania;Photo: Google credit

This is the coffee from last season that i had gone to prepare. This is the harvest that Kira and Jan of Loppokaffeeexpress helped in picking and processing. For a week they braved the muddy pathys, the scorching heat, the hard work to help my people bring in the harvest in time.
Kira & Jan braving the muddy paths to the village

Kira showing photos of her Roastery to the manager of Ndurutu Wet Mill

Kira helps with harvesting coffee- Ndurutu Village

Helping sorting out the cherries at the Wet mill

Securing this coffee hasnt been easy. It took me and Nicole longer than we had planned before the sale and the shipping was finally through. To Heinz, thankyou for your patience even when the going got tougher ;)
You see coffee has been an engine for Kenya's national economic development process, was at once the country's first foreign exchange earner. With this background it has brought with it thousand of 'advisors' who still dominate the coffee industry at the exploitation of the coffee producers.
Our Direct Trade model is governed by Transparency in the whole chain and we will not relent. My people can only transform their lives if facilitated with the necessary resources, connections and knowledge to thrive.Ours is a story of hope and restoration.Ours is a story where the farmers united to face the struggle and poverty associated with low coffee prices.....our is a story of honest partnerships.Thats the story of my people.

with a group of our focal farmers
 For every bean of coffee that we ship i worry. I worry for the children of our producers for they are the hope of the village.For every bean that Nicole and i sell means hope, future. A future for my people. The school Library is almost complete and the kids can finally have access to enough reading materials etc.To Sandtorkai Handel; Asante.

beneficiaries-Ndurutu Primary
 Our next phase of Rural community development work is underway, and this is the empowerement of women coffee producers from the village with small income generating projects. Most of these women have lived their whole lives in the village. Most of all the coffee produced in the village goes through these hand-working women. Unfortunately only maybe 1 % of them are entitled to the lands they till from dawn to dusk.They suffer from the daily to daily struggles of providing for their families and maintaing respectable standards of living- its not easy.
The women group that we are working with has been together for 10 years in an informal set up. 2 years ago we facilitated their registration with the Kenyan Ministry of Gender and Social Development as a Self-Help Group.This way we can find ways to facilitate them in establishing and finding ways to create income for the village.

Davie explaining to the women group on way forward

The project involves Poultry farming - egg production.The group will receive an estimated 1600 layers that will guarantee a steady income for the group on a monthly basis through the sale of eggs to neighbouring towns. This way we can ease some of the burdens that weigh heavily on our coffee producers.''Will my children have shoes to wear? will my family have afford a decent meal tonight? will i be able to send my children to school?'' these are not stories....these are realities that I and the gang at Kedovo grew up with.
This project wont have been possible without the Partnership of Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen, without their trust and confidence in us. It would have been so much harder was it not for the Partnership of the Centre for International Migration & Development (CIM) of Germany.For this we are truly grateful.

the gang busy constructing the chicken coops
training of the group on poultry farming underway
Zackie doing what he does best- coordination

Our partnership with these coffee producers is not only to grow quality coffee but to make sure that they thrive, to make sure that their families are healthy, to live to our commitment of sustainable livelihoods.We want to move beyond Direct Trade relationships to Sustainable economic development of our coffee producers. 

To continue supporting these communities we are currently offering Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill late crop 2013-2014 F.O.T Bremen, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract.The next shipment from Ndurutu Wet Mill season 2014-2015 is currently on the high seas with an ETA 22.4. in Bremehaven. More updates to follow.

For clients interested in Kenyan Single origin roasted coffees kindly purchase from our Online Shop, pay a visit to Engel Eis Cafe on the Hamburger Strasse 23 in Kaki and get to taste our handcrafted coffees, visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or visit us at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

To all the Roasters in Germany and Austria who purchase our Green beans ; Asanteni. Without you all, this would have been so much harder. 

Signed Soni.

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