Spes: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Spes: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Life’s best moments often seem to be tucked deep inside the ordinary ho-hum minutes of our days. On Tuesday, the boys and I gave our turtle Popcorn a bath. His name alone makes me smile- one day Ben went out looking for some popcorn (which he couldn’t find anywhere in town) and came back with …

Elizabeth: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Elizabeth: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Have you tasted your coffee before? “Yes. It’s disgusting. It tastes like medicine!” What do you hope for your children? “That someday they will have a life outside of poverty.” It’s time for a woman’s voice to echo through this portrait series again. Elizabeth is one of the first farmers I remember meeting. She was …

Charles: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Charles: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Development begins by picking up a hoe. Without working these fields, we will never move forward.   What has made you the happiest in this life? Being taught by my father how to farm. It is what has sustained me. Who is your role model in life? My grandfather. When he left this earth he …

Evariste: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Evariste: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Have you ever tasted coffee? “Today was the first time.” What did you think? “It is very bitter- but I’m glad you see the value in it!” -Evariste During harvest, Evariste walks his coffee cherries 5 kilometers from his home on Musumba hill to our washing station. It’s a long uphill walk to the station. We …

Ninasi: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Ninasi: Burundian Coffee Farmer

“I tell my children to work hard because it is how we will fight the poverty. My children bring me the most happiness- I have seven of them and they are all farmers too.” Ninasi’s role model is the person who taught him how to farm. In Burundi, subsistence farming is how most of the …

Dorothy: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Dorothy: Burundian Coffee Farmer

Growing Coffee is like raising a child. You have to wash them, nurture them, and look after them. We spent part of a Saturday at Dorothy’s house on Gaharo hill. The minute she saw our baby Ari she scooped her up and led our whole family into her home. The dirt floors were cleanly swept …

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 …