Four years ago we knew we needed a change. The result was a journey of discovery into who we are as individuals. Kristy discovered a passion for creating beautiful images, and I discovered that the two things I love after my wife and my boys are coffee and helping people. Duh. I knew this, Kristy knew this, friends knew this, but there was way too much at risk to say it out loud. Then one day we faced our fears and said “what if…” What if we leave our familiar jobs, change our way of life, and just jump into coffee (figuratively, although literally would be a dream come true) and photography? We said yes to a new way of life and had no idea what that would mean.
Of all the places in the whole of the world, why Burundi? When I first told Kristy that Burundi might be the right place for us, she replied with, “Is that a city?” Burundi has exactly what we need. Coffee, people and potential. I live for potential. It’s one of my driving motivators. This place has more potential then any other African country to produce the best quality coffee on the continent. It’s a country that derives 96% of its foreign income from coffee. It’s population has the lowest GDP of any country in the world and my eyes have been opened to an amazing opportunity for change. Long Miles Coffee Project is not just about me being a coffee guy, it’s a chance to help an entire country through cupping coffee and showing the world what Burundi has to offer.
I want to see these farmers live a better life. Get a fair price for their coffee. I want them to have hope that trying harder will pay dividends. I want to walk with them and see communities become self sufficient, caring, grace filled places of hope. I want to show my boys that they can do anything they set their mind to.
Justifying doing what we love has been a way of life for us for years. We would like too BUT… “it doesn’t fit our job description,” “it costs too much money,” “people won’t ‘get it’”… and then we stopped. No more “I can’t” “I should” “I hope to”. We’ve replaced those words with more empowering ones like, “I can” “I will” and “I know.” It makes a difference. Trust us! It has allowed us to make a leap and say, “We can follow a big dream to help coffee farmers, and live in Burundi.” It’s our choice, and we’ve made it. When we stood up and said, “This is our choice, we’re going, no matter who’s on board or what the outcome is” a whole new world of possibility opened before us…
and that’s our story.