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 flailing siding on a skeleton that’s running in the wind. Lots of wind. It is a bullet train that we’ve constructed with our own hands, there is no wishing that it was not, there is only managing what is.
Our first container of the season was supposed to be, by all our calculations and efforts, on the road in July. Then the dry mill, where our coffee is deparched and prepped for export, did not open. When it did open it had no electricity.
Then the labor went on strike.
Then the only forklift broke.
Then there was no electricity AGAIN.
For days and then weeks on end.
Add to this the stress of trying to accomplish paperwork in Burundi (which is less like paperwork and more like jumping through a hoop while trying to spot a needle in a haystack) and, well, hello October. I will not bore you with all the hilariously frustrating details, but I will say that it is hard not to be deflated in the face of such resistance. There have been a lot of moments when we’ve just let the all the air out. Unable to breathe in the face of things out of our control… but there is one thing we can control. Hope. It is ours if we choose it. That’s the thing about hope, it is a choice.
It is probably why so few choose to do business here. Saying that out loud might get me in trouble, but I feel like shouting it. BURUNDI, you are SO DIFFICULT to do business in!!!!!
Our resilience is shaken, we have very little left… but the moment we stop trusting that God is with us, we find ourselves flailing and gasping for breathe in a sea of problems. This creature, this Long Miles, is she more trouble than she is worth? On a day as starless as the current one, it’s questionable.
I DO know what I believe in. I believe that producing amazing coffee in one of the poorest nations on earth and caring about the farmers who grow it CAN BE DONE. I believe in our amazing team and in the God that gathered them on our doorstep (THANK YOU). I believe in the power of an idea and it’s ability to change the world. Amen, do I EVER believe in that. I believe that ALL THINGS are possible when faith is our anchor, although I am not always very good at living as if I believe it. I believe that what we are doing is WORTH it…. and that 1,500 coffee farming families would say so too. So, to the creature that is Long Miles:
You are a dream worth living…
even when the difficulties you bring
hold us at the brink of our capacity.
We will keep pushing like mad to get these beans to your door, but until they reach your door here are some images and video of our coffee being hand sorted at the dry mill. A process traditionally done by women.
Update: we have gotten one of our 4 boxes (containers) on the road! Three to go!