Dancing goats are, it would seem, responsible for the world’s love of coffee. According to legend, Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd from ancient times, found his goats very spirited on one occasion, seeming to ‘dance’ near a certain plant with little red berries. The latter turned out to be coffee beans and the rest is history.
Legend or not, with centuries of coffee history behind them, one would think Ethiopia’s coffee farmers should now be thriving. Until recently, though, farmers such as Mama Doree and Burtukan Zeleka received only a pittance for their long years of labour in the famed Sidmamo region. Many of life’s basics were beyond their families’ reach: clean water, adequate clothes, medical care, proper housing and education for their children.
Enter a Fair Trade cooperative. “Now we are getting great dividends!” Mama told members of a visiting Crossroads team. Both families, along with many others, now have those much-needed clothes, clean water, better housing and education for their kids.
As our team photographed Burtukan Zeleke, in front of a huge pile of coffee for export, she gave them a message to pass on. “This coffee,” she says, “is the best not only in Ethiopia but in the world. You should all buy and drink it!”
Happily, we in Hong Kong do! This cooperative is one of the suppliers whose coffee we sell in our Fair Trade Cafe. Come, join us and raise a cup to Fair Trade!