or “B” for buna, in Ethiopia. A blessing and curse from my trip to Ethiopia is the inability to drink “regular” coffee any longer. A mere month before my trip to meet my daughter, I had a free afternoon to spend in San Francisco’s Museum of the African Diaspora. Lucky me, the entire museum was filled with various Ethiopian exhibits. I wandered from floor to floor, finally stopping in a theater playing a documentary about coffee. The documentary, of course, was the film, Black Gold. Time slipped away as I watched the last 80% of the film. Who knew the story of coffee, and the people who grow it, and sell it, could be so interesting? After watching, I was firm in my resolve to buy only fair-trade coffee. I couldn’t believe that so little money trickled down to the farmers of my favorite bean (cocoa and jelly remaining firmly in spots 2 and 3!).
My week in Ethiopia was spent in the company of the loveliest girl and drinking lots of the most delicious coffee ever. With every cup, I was reminded of the farmers and the coffee sorters and pickers in Black Gold, people who worked so hard, for so little, in an attempt to make a better life for their children.
Although fair trade (and preferably shade-grown) organic coffee is considerably more expensive than a can of Maxwell House, it’s the choice I make with pleasure. I know that buying fairly-traded goods isn’t the singular path to economic freedom and recovery for the world’s farmers, but it is a path I can choose to take.
If you haven’t seen Black Gold, I urge you to do so. It’s a nice trip back to Ethiopia for those of us who have been, and it’s a lovely preview for those of you waiting, waiting, waiting to meet your children. It’s also another small reminder that we are all connected in this world, that our actions do matter.