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 and covered in the family’s grass sleeping mats. As her guests, we sat on low wooden stools and she sat on the floor. The only things adorning the cool dirt walls were a picture of Jesus, a plastic rosary, and a small piece of mirror glass. A crowd grew by her open door, entertained as baby Ari grabbed fistfuls of hair belonging to Dorothy’s youngest. We asked her some questions about life and here’s what she said.
Who is your role model in life?
My mom gave me to my grandmother to be raised because she had little means to raise me by herself. My grandmother became the person who taught me about life and the way to live. She taught me everything I know.
What has your biggest challenge in life been?
My biggest challenge in life has been linked to my children. Even after having my first child, I continued to experience pregnancy complications. My third child nearly died. The doctor didn’t think that she would survive the labor, but God intervened and I was able to give birth to a healthy girl.
What will you tell your grandchildren one day about life?
I will teach them about farming. What is most important though is to lead by example. If I pick up a hoe, they’ll follow and also pick up a hoe.
Have you ever tasted your coffee? What did you think?
Yes, when you made it for us. It’s good but it needs sugar.
What is the most difficult part about growing coffee?
It’s not difficult but it takes hard work and diligence. Growing Coffee is like raising a child. You have to wash them, nurture them, and look after them.
Dorothy is 37 and has six children, the youngest pictured with her here. Her family has 54 coffee trees and during harvest she walks the cherries to our Bukeye washing station, just 15 minutes away by foot.