There have not been many things in my life that have stopped me in my tracks and have made my eyes flood uncontrollably out of pure joy.
Last year, Jeanne and I had the opportunity to travel with Land of a Thousand Hills to Rwanda. The trip was dedicated to observing the process from the coffee "bean" to the cup and how coffee can impact culture. The idea to use coffee to do good in the world had been in my heart and soul for a few years. I was very excited to see the dreams and imaginative pictures in my mind come to life before my eyes.
One of the first few days we were in Rwanda, we traveled up Ruli Mountain to visit the coffee washing station that is owned by Land of a Thousand Hills. When we arrived after hours of travel in a very bumpy and tight commute, we were greeted by children who radiated with joy while welcoming us by way of singing cultural songs and dancing with beautiful and heartfelt movements. As they sang and dance, they led us to the washing station location. While watching them and walking on the rocky, yellow dirt path toward the destination with my wife by my side, I became overwhelmed with joy, confirmation, and revelation of my dreams and desires.
The beauty of what surrounded me stopped me dead in my tracks. I did not want to hold anyone up (and my pride didn't want others to see my tears), so I stumble-footed my way to the side of the path and held my face and wept for joy for an extended moment. What I was experiencing was real. I was seeing how a commodity that many westerners, such as myself, simply enjoy allows others who invest in this agricultural good with holistic effort to live and to provide for their families.
So, here we are. We have committed to this dream of ours, with the hope that we can use this business to do good in our community and perhaps the world by the conduit of coffee. Sometimes I think that this dream is crazy, the coffee business is too risky, and the goals that we have are a bit farfetched. But then I remember that moment that stopped me in my tracks on Ruli Mountain. I remember the joy on those childrens' faces.. I visualize what impact we can truly make, and I get to work.
There may be many awesome coffee companies out there, but there is still so much good that can be done in this community and in this world. And our goal is to be able to often find moments that stop our friends and ourselves in our tracks in awe and appreciation with what good can happen in the world if people are just willing to make the difference.