Back To Burundi

Back To Burundi

Our Burundi coffee reminds me of lilacs and saddles. Clearly, that’s not an educated flavor or taste profile. I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life in Africa, but these reminders are a nod to my Midwest American roots. I grew up craving everything that had to do with horses. My parents couldn’t afford …

Uprooted: Our Burundi Exit

Uprooted: Our Burundi Exit

Our exit from Burundi was like molasses falling steady from a spoon, sticky and slow. Lifting ourselves from the land was a process full of attempts to stay. After several years of struggling to call Burundi “home,” now I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the place that had taught me so many of my …

Unlikely Heroes Fighting The Potato Defect

Unlikely Heroes Fighting The Potato Defect

The Antestia bug From far off, the Burundian countryside is a vast expanse of green carpeted rolling hills. Each hill is a distinct geopolitical unit known as a ‘colline’ (‘hill’ in French). Get closer to a colline and a tapestry of patchwork farming appears: a square of banana trees, a patch of cassava, a large …

Mothers. Wives. Farmers. Fighters.

Mothers. Wives. Farmers. Fighters.

Rain is falling gently on the banana leaves outside my window. School kids are shouting and laughing. Motorbikes are whizzing past piled high with boxes, goats, people, bananas, grass, and even entire beds on their backs. This is normal life here, and in Burundi “normal” can be very very hard for many. Today is the International Day …

Exploring Nairobi With Kids

Exploring Nairobi With Kids

Shopping in real grocery stores and speaking English rank at the top of my “reasons to love Kenya” list, but after a recent trip to Nairobi that list now includes all the fun things available for families to do in Nairobi (without even hiking out to the Maasai Mara). In just two days we were able …

Burundi Coffee Farmer: Espéciose Manirakiza

Burundi Coffee Farmer: Espéciose Manirakiza

War continues to pulse it’s reaching veins through lives and lands long after the guns stop ringing. For Espéciose, that means being the sole provider for her 6 children in one of the most poverty stricken nations on earth. Her husband was killed in the Burundian civil war that ended in 2006 and she has …

Hand Sorting Coffee + Thoughts On Export

Hand Sorting Coffee + Thoughts On Export

Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart. ― Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist It’s been a mad expedition. Sometimes, I daydream that our life resembles a lazy river. Currently it does not. It more closely resembles a bullet train traveling so fast that sides peel away, leaving …

Portraits of Coffee Harvest + Links

Portraits of Coffee Harvest + Links

Nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, it is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy that we can scarcely mark their progress. Charles Dickens Our coffee is slowly being moved from our drying tables and …

The Gift Of Coffee On Gaharo Hill

The Gift Of Coffee On Gaharo Hill

“How many of you have ever tasted coffee from your home hill?” I asked while requesting a show of hands. One person raised their hand. One person. Just one. Over 200 coffee farmers were circled around us at the community gathering point on Gaharo hill. It was hot and dusty. The morning light of Africa …

Our Struggle For Hope

Our Struggle For Hope

I woke up thinking about the way the equatorial morning light moves around the dense matter of humanity. Long shadows on the ground serve as evidence that there are spaces the light cannot fill. I feel like we have been living in those dark spaces for several weeks now, all the time fighting to get …