Saturday, February 6, 2010
I remember getting the phone call from Compassion International in 1994. They wanted to let me know that the little girl I had been sponsoring in Rwanda had disappeared.
Disappeared? It was hard for me to fathom how this could happen, because I couldn't yet conceptualize the brutality and genocide taking place in her country. At that point I could barely find Rwanda on a map, and I had not yet learned of the 100 days of chaos and violence that would pit neighbor against neighbor, proving that ordinary working people, including those who claimed to be people of faith, could take the lives of those around them.
Many months later, Mukanoheri-- the girl I sponsored-- was found and was able to return to her town. I continued sponsoring her until she became an adult.
Today, 16 years later, to say "Rwanda" conjures up images of violence, and if you are like me, you may wonder how people could ever heal from and move past such tragedy.
Personally, I think healing and reconciliation in the face of such despair requires a miracle. The good news is, miracles are happening there every day.
I'd like to share with you one business that is hoping that Coffee and Forgiveness, not Genocide, will be what you think of when you think of Rwanda.
A small Roswell, Georgia-based coffee company has been working in Rwanda to help farmers set up small coffee farms. Former enemies work side by side. Can you imagine a young girl growing coffee right next to the man who killed her family? It's hard to fathom, but it is happening in Rwanda today.
A "better than fair trade" wage is giving hope and a future, but forgiveness, despite impossible odds, is what is healing Rwanda. And if you are like me, you realize that forgiveness is just as important for the one doing the forgiving as the one being forgiven.
I know it's hard to wrap the mind around reconciliation of this magnitude, and I'm glad it's not our place to make miracles, but we can play a small part, and that's where today's giveaway comes in!
We have started carrying Land of 1000 Hills Coffee in the store where I work, and I'd like to give away a 1 lb. bag to you.
• Every bag purchased provides a rural farmer with a proper Living Wage and the dignity and self respect that comes from providing for oneself.
• In 2004, Land of a Thousand Hills committed to paying at minimum of $1.26 per lb. to the grower for their finest coffee, more than three times the unjust 40 cents often paid by other coffee companies. Currently, the growers are consistently paid an average of $1.86 per lb.
• Land of a Thousand Hills also invests one dollar per 12 oz. bag sold to fund micro-finance programs that help Rwandans start small businesses. Approximately $3 total per 12 oz. bag is invested in the Rwandan economy.
So leave me a comment by Tuesday at midnight and win some great coffee! Let me know whether you would prefer ground or whole bean. I encourage you to check out the website yourself. Land of 1000 Hills delivers the best coffee in the world, right to your door.
Drink Coffee. Do Good.