Friday, October 16, 2015

My Village ,the struggle and the hope


In the Central Highlands of Kenya, many Kilometres from the Indian Ocean, there is a small village called Ndurutu, nestled on the footshills of The Aberdare Mountains , one can see  the peaks of the Mt. Kenya to the Northeast, where the folks -before the missionaries came-believed Mwene Nyaga  dwelt. On the slopes of this mountain range lies my small , dusty but extremely beautiful village. 

Ndurutu shopping centre
This is the village i still call home- i have lived in many places before, and i finally relocated to Germany after a year of deliberation ( story of another day) and i have done everything to the letter of the book of Migration, but this is where my house is and the village where I was born; this is the place where I played my first games with my friends, swam on the banks of River Chania, and struggled with bags of ripe coffee cherries up the hill. This is where  me and my siblings, sat by the fireplace every evening and listened to stories told by my mother, stories that were passed to her by her mother and grandmother.Unfortunately it was not my destiny that I would spend the rest of my life there.....But i live everyday with the memories of it, and the hope that my little contribution can help in changing their lives.


a view of the sunset from the village

On the 23rd of Sept TG Aphrodite sailed from the port of Mombasa, to brace the high seas, the threat of climatic changes and deliver our second container of coffee for this year to the Port of Bremen on the River Weser. On board is again 250 bags of green coffee from Ndurutu Wet Mill. The sale of this coffee will continue supporting our development Projects  in Nyeri, Kenya.
meeting ndurutu coffee farmers in jan 2016 with Stefan

My people planted coffee ages ago, even before i was born, so being part of a coffee farmer basically begins the minute you are born. I grew up knowing that our only source of income came from harvesting those litlle red berries .My people watered these trees with their sweat and the earth with their own blood, in order to defend themeselves from the politics and the trade that came with every bean that they harvested.




across the ridge as seen from Ndurutu wet mill; a small scale coffee farm

I have had several people asking me how all this coffee journey began, and whats the motivation behind it. Well this is my story. And its the story of how our journey at KEDOVO e.V began, a story which we want to change for future generations of coffee producers.



When i was younger, how did i think about coffee?
I left the village when i was 17, I just wanted out. My father was hell bent that i should take the more 'sophsicated and respectable' proffessions, like being a doctor, or a Lawyer- sigh. But i wanted out, out of the village and the struggles and the back breaking toil that came with coffee production and so i left to go and survive.

I ''survived'' and i was able to see the world and to learn new things. I went to college and everytime i opened my Economics book and looked at the graphs- i knew what i wanted to become.

Moving to Europe, i started thinking of how my people could develop and i realised they had the best opportunity in the world. They grew coffee that unfortunately did not benefit them due to the hurdles involved in the supply chain. They were great coffee producers but not business oriented. Their story needed to be told, but it had to be a story that had hope, a story that was a journey to development, a story that was their story, for i believe its the story of all the  coffee Producers all over the world.

What they needed was a market that could offer them a good price for their coffee and i believed i could do this. If i could give them this hope again i believed they would produce quality coffee that would be sort after by Roasters from the Western world.

This has now become my world, and everytime i roast a bean i remember my folks trying to earn a decent living from a crop that comes with struggles . Everytime i sit at Quijote i worry of their struggles but bast in their determination not to give up in trying to find chances and meanings in a world where decisions made many miles from their village continue changing their lives.


with Matt of Quijote roasting Ndurutu AB
My idea of Direct Trade and connecting the Roasters in germany with the communities who produce coffee in Nyeri Kenya, is basically an attempt to adress the problem facing the distribution and sale of Green coffee in a much different way than the regulated certifications- note: i have nothing against the various certifictaions out there, only i feel that coffee producers should have more surelty of available market at good prices rather than a promise of a ''future market' if they followed this and that. We should be more focused not only on quantity and social aspects but the overal economic sustainability of these communities at the same time preserving the quality and integrity of coffee, not forgetting that communities develop socially if they are economically empowered.


Stefan of Kiez Roastery Berlin meeting some of our farmers














The aim of the Kedovo coffee Project is to factor both economic and social development and where we work with these communities from a grassroot level to establish exactly what is required.


Kenya like many of the countries in developing world, didnt not meet the set Millenium Development Goals whose term ended in Sept 2015. We now have a long list of the Sustainable Development Goals to battle for the next 15 years. They say to achieve them everyone needs to do their part. - They said Goal 12 aims to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns, we will do our part- i hope to God the rest of the world does their part...


Our story hasnt lost hope and we have had great partners along the journey, people who amazingly continue to support our work both with the purchase of our coffees as well as supporting our many projects on community development in Nyeri Kenya.

The last months the gang has been busy winding up the last phase of installing water tanks for water harvesting for a number of our coffee producers, in line with our project for Access to clean water. This would have not been possible without the support of BINGO Projektf√∂rderung Schleswig Holstein, for the immense Support , on behalf of my people we will always be grateful. 
To our Partners Sandtorkai Handel Papenhagen- you have become more than a partner, you are the family that we made in a far away land; the people who believed in us from the beginning, our sincere thanks, and ofcourse to all the amazing Roasters and consumers who purchase both our green and roasted coffees; Asanteni sana! 

the home of one of our coffee producers who is among the beneficiaries of the water tanks project



Wilson & James from Kedovo-Kenya busy with installations


2 hours later....

The gang ;) huraa! we did it
The beneficiaries
 
Another beneficiary from last month....

Our Story is a journey of togetherness... and together with the gang we swore to dedicate our time, our resources in making the other children of our coffee producers become self reliant. This we can only do by ensuring they have access and chance to better education facilities.
For Kenya to fully develop , its children and especially the ones in the rural farming villages, have to be educated, they Need to have a voice to develop  in a world where the Odds have been stacked against them. We at KEDOVO only know too well the struggle to complete education....
Last week the team in Kenya went back to Ndurutu Primary School which is one of the Schools in our Project; Education for Sustainable Development. The School's infrastructure like many rural School is in bad shape, and this time the gang delivered School desks for clas 8 who begin their final exams in November. This would not have been possible without the immense Support of Loppokaffeeexpress of Kiel, and for this my since gratitude. Kira and Axel your dedication to Support my community not only through the purchase of their coffee but as well as other social development Projects means the world to me!

Davie with std 8 Pupils, the beneficiaries of the new desks

together for Ndurutu, thanks Loppokaffeeexpress

The gang having a discussion with the chairman ndurutu primary & the deputy head


In Progress is also our Project on Renewable energy which is basically the Installation of several Biogas digesters for the coffee farmers in Ndurutu. In many rural Areas, the lack of energy is a key drive of poverty.The sytems are quiet unique in such that they are not the traditional cement Systems that are always in the ground and filled up with manure....this has proven to be very expensive over time and queit hard to maintain or even clean up. We partnered with Flexi Biogas International owned and ran by a great Kenyan guy Dominic Wanjihia. The Project is supported by Centre For International Migration & Development of Germany.
The Systems are above the ground and you only need one cow to mainatin the sytem as opposed to the conventional dome shaped Systems where a Minimum of 5 cows is required! currently we have installed 6 Units so far in the village.








The Flexi Biogas Systems

The digesters use any biodegradable matter be it kitchen waste, market waste, grass etc- but our main source of bio matter is the Coffee Pulp! the Ndurutu wet mill is located in a startegic position that all the farmers have Access to the Pulp that they can use either as organic matter in the coffee fileds- its this that we are now using for the several digesters to produce Biogas! we only Need a bucket of water and a bucket of bio matter daily and thats it. The System will produce gas to cook for upto a Family of 8 without a hitch for  six to eight hours. Installations are done within 3 hours for 1 System amd within 7 days the Family is ready to start their new life cooking with biogas.Is this not hope for my coffee community? can you imagine the women coffee farmers not having to trek long distances insearch of firewood? or the Kids running from School at the end of the day so they can go to the forest insearch of firewood before the darkness set? they can now sit comfortably at home and relax or do their homework! is that not the struggle and the hope? We are now able to replace pecious Wood with either cowdung or the coffee Pulp.


pulped coffee husks at Ndurutu wet mill
 I believe there is need for more successive stories of communities who made it- but this is only possible if communities come together and aim towards self reliancy. We now have hope.

To continue supporting these communities we have on offer Green coffee (Rohkaffee) from Ndurutu Wet Mill late crop 2013-2014 F.O.T Bremen as well as late crop 2014-2015, transport within Germany & the EU arrangable at a cost. Please contact Soni Schneidewind or Nicole Boedgter for information on samples, prices and contract.


For roasted Chania coffee kindly purchase from our Online Shop or visit our offices in Kaltenkirchen. Visit the shop & Cafe 'Ein Welt Laden' located at the VHS in Kaltenkirchen , am Kretemoor 40, or pass by at our stand at the Kaltenkirchener Wochenmark every Saturday from 07:00 hrs to 12 noon.

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