In December, 8th Avenue barista Emily Piper went to supervise a project in reducing school dropouts in Kellensoo, Ethiopia.
We use coffee from Kellensoo in our blend, and serve it on our Single Source menu.
Emily was there for six weeks.
Remember when the United States' collective consciousness encountered the phrase "it takes a village to raise a child"? I was in elementary school in a midwestern suburb, and I swear, this cultural phenomenon was made for that setting. I remember being saturated in the slogan and its spirit. My Girl Scout troop leader, my cello teacher, my jump rope team coach- I understood all these figures to be members of my village.
20 years later, I finally spent time in an authentic, instead of metaphorical, village. Kellensoo, the the village that produces Think's Single Source No. 1, was my home for about 5 weeks during December and January.
Do you know what? Villages really do raise children all together. A kid will run around everywhere, and a stranger will give her a hug, her father's coworker will make a toy out of a bottlecap, an elder will scold her for not looking where she's running, an older student will check over her homework, and the faranji (Ethiopian term for foreigner) will climb a tree with her to shake down some avocados and sit with her in the shade to eat them.
Because of my trip, there are now a few thousand Think customers helping to raise these kids. Think, along with its export partner Nardos Coffee Exports and its import partner The Bushwick Seed company, used profits to send me to Ethiopia to direct the building of a library for Kellensoo Mokonisa Eleshu Primary School, as well as to purchase books, tables, chairs and shelves for that library.
From my friends Tulu, Misgana, Kassa, Yenu, Elias, Gargalla, and me: Thanks! There are now 437 books in three languages that students, teachers, and villagers can use.
This isn't about feeling warm and fuzzy inside; your coffee purchase is embedded in global relationships whether you pay 50 cents or $5 for a cup. I like that Think lets you and me be part of a really large, generous, open, stubborn, industrious, courageous-diverse-village.
I want to tell you about that village, so come talk to me, and keep checking this site for more stories.