While a handful of you already know and have known for quite some time, many more of you have been asking as to what our next steps will be. Over the weekend we were able to confirm a lot of loose ends that we have been waiting on. We’re now ready to make public our plans and can hardly wait to do so: we’re moving to Moshi, Tanzania!
Some of you may recall that in pursuing my masters degree, I researched and wrote on the coffee industry, further developing plans that Steven and I had been working on over the past three years. Initially we thought this would lead us to open a coffee shop where we would roast and serve coffee, but also enable us to make source trips to the farms we partner with, where we would begin to implement our hope for doing business differently and finally see justice where previous attempts have not gone far enough. Our research took us deeper than we ever could have imagined and we soon realized that perhaps our plans to open a coffee shop did not go far enough either. We soon found ourselves too invested. We care too much now to not make a better attempt for seeing justice in the coffee industry. Coffee is one of the most traded commodities in the world, yet the 125 million farmers, laborers, and families who are dependent upon this industry for their own subsistence are hardly surviving. So rather than opening up a coffee shop, we’re moving to Tanzania where we will be doing quite the opposite: establishing relationships and getting our hands dirty doing the hard labor of cultivating the land that yields coffee alongside farmers and their families. The concept that we have developed to describe this work is consciously titled After Trade. After Trade is a new form of sourcing that moves beyond the trade of coffee and toward reconciliation between farmers, roasters, coffee, and the land, through practices of solidarity and sustainability. For more on After Trade, click here.
We are also excited to announce that we will be partnering with EITanzania, a humanitarian not-for-profit NGO located in Moshi,Tanzania. Through EIT, we will be creating and assisting with sustainable development projects among locals such as poultry farming, crop farming, small business creation, and working with local street tailors. In many ways, our work with EIT and After Trade will overlap as our heart in both is for sustainability; that is, bringing change that does not simply improve the quality of life for a single family or village, but improve the quality of life for the Tanzanian people for generations to come.
We deeply believe that our theology works itself out through praxis. The two go hand-in-hand. For us, After Trade and our work with EIT is part theology and part praxis. Which is to say, the work we will be doing isn’t so much humanitarian as it is spiritual.
Our anticipated departure is Spring 2014. We will be fundraising to cover the expenses of sustainable development projects, upfront moving costs, and our livelihood in Tanzania. We will be looking for places to speak and share our heart for the change we hope to be part of in Tanzania, so if anyone has connections let us know. We will be sharing at Ekklesia in Royston, GA on Sunday, Nov. 17th, if anyone is in the area and wants to join. That being said, we thank you in advance for your support and prayers on our behalf over the next several months!