Need a Coffee?


After the holidays, it’s not unusual to take a dip in energy and need a nice cup of coffee to get you going.

Coffee is a drink that people on the other side of the world appreciate as much as Americans.

In Ethiopia … in the community of Sasiga, coffee is said to be a drink that gives people the “courage and determination to perform all their duties.”

Coffee beans not only make a tasty drink that helps us face our day. These beans are a cash crop that provide a great source of revenue for farmers, like the men and women  in Sasiga.  That is why Food for the Hungry (FH) helped these farmers overcome difficulties to start growing coffee beans for income.

In 2003, farmers in Sasiga tried to grow different crops on termite-infested lands. The bugs devoured sprouting plants overnight.

Poor farmers, like Dereje Motuma, lived in frustration and hunger. Dereje tried to earn a living as a laborer, since farming was impossible. But work for him was hard to find and he and his family felt hunger pains every day.

Growing a Hope

But life changed – as it does – and this time for the better. Food for the Hungry (FH) came to Dereje’s community and worked with farmers to start growing crops.

Through FH classes, Dereje learned to rid his property of termites and about agro-forestry. He mastered how to make and use compost. He gained knowledge of business management, marketing and growing a private plant nursery and raising coffee bean trees.

He practiced agro-forestry by growing indigenous trees alongside of his coffee bean seedlings. Coffee bean trees grow better with shade, so the other trees provided an enriched environment for a better coffee crop.

Now, Dereje earns income from his coffee bean crop. He’s also growing other crops, like vegetables to feed his family. He’s become a better farmer using irrigation, pest-control and fertilizing practices to get the most from his land.

Dereje's wife serves coffee at the community gathering in Sasiga, Ethiopia.

Social Time

The coffee also provides Dereje and his wife with a way to bring the community together.

They invite neighbors to their home to drink coffee and discuss various social issues, such as community business and ways they can improve life for themselves. The gathering serves as a forum to address issues.

This is the kind of creative work faithful partners like you support through FH.

Trees reforesting Sasiga, turning what was once a wasteland, into an oasis of coffee bean producing farms that help feed families. It’s also providing the ingredients for a social drink, bringing people together as a community.

So when you drink your next cup of coffee, remember how on the other side of the world, this little bean is changing lives.

About Renee Targos

Renee is a former journalist and editor for national arts and business publications. As a writer for Food for the Hungry, Renee explores and reports on the work and relationships of partners, FH staff and impoverished communities.

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