Haiti and their farmers; we have kindred spirits.

 In Reflection through food

My heart, my soul is a blaze with fervent adulation..Haiti and their farmers; we have kindred spirits.

I married a farmer/rancher. We lived on the Barney homestead for 25 years. My husband worked the land, sowed the grain, harvested wheat and alfalfa that fed the cattle. He chopped ice in the winter to water the stock, and fixed the fence to keep them safe. Together, we raised our 3 kind, successful, talented children as he worked out in the elements sweating buckets in the summer and freezing in the winter to help feed the nation. He never complained because the cowboy life was his way. Putting food on other’s tables was in his blood.

This is the understood compassion and hope I have for the precious coffee farmers in Haiti. No, they don’t experience sub zero winter temps, but their livelihood is threatened by severe earthquakes, devastating hurricanes and extreme poverty.

This past summer my roaster extended an invitation to me to join him on a sourcing trip to Haiti, giving me a chance to meet the dear people that work so hard growing our rich, dark, smooth, nutty, energy boosting, wake me up beverage we call coffee. Mostly, we never give these families a second thought, taking them and the luscious beverage for granted each morning as we sip away in our comfy homes, reading the newest posts, stir the pot satires and opinionated blogs on our up-to-date electronics, leaving hate messages when we are not in agreement with the writer, watching the latest violent protests and temper-tantrums on our big screen tv’s, even going as far as blacklisting our friends as we, feeling so pious, believe our way of thinking is the only way. We are a spoiled Nation. We demand a continuous sucking on the breast, throw fits when we can’t have a paci, we suck our thumbs and cry for our blanki’s. What sadness…what an inflated view we have of ourselves. It is shameful, to say the least.

Both excitement and humility rise up inside my heart as I prepare in a few short weeks to visit the Haitians farms, meet their families and allow them to show off their country and their vocations. I will understand how hard they work to make a living, as we in some ways have kindred spirits, knowing all the while, their way of life is simpler than ours. Maybe I will find they are the fortunate ones, seeing they are thankful for their families, their little piece of land, their accomplishments, as they work hard with their hands and strong backs to survive what life has thrown at them. I’m expecting this trip to be a breath of fresh air for me. An honor. I just might be able to say, in some ways, we, as Americans can learn from these valued people, manners and hope and respect. For I believe it is important to “love your neighbor as yourself.

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