2009 was a busy year for the Mirembe Project and 2010 is shaping up to be even busier. A feature in Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, new computers for the PK Cooperative management, and a showcase of Mirembe Kawomera “Delicious Peace” coffee at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City has gotten this year off to a rolling start. This project continues to grow, build, and change and you are an integral part of it. Thank you for your continued support.
PKC Gets New Computers
In December, I sent an appeal to some of our supporters asking that they consider donating money to the Cooperative to support the purchase of new computers for PKC’s growing staff. This was a unique request from Thanksgiving Coffee. Ordinarily, we don’t have channels to manage supporters’ charitable donations. However, in this case there was a very specific need from the Cooperative and we were able to coordinate a community leader to spearhead this effort. Many thanks to Debbie in San Jose for being the central point of organization and for the final effort to make sure the money made it to Atlanta in time to be carried to Uganda. Six communities came together to support this fundraising effort. We were successful in raising $885, enough to purchase two new desktop systems for the Coop’s seven person staff!
On January 31st, a friend to Thanksgiving Coffee Company as well as the PK Coop, carried $455 to Uganda and later this week $430 more will be wired from Evanston, IL.
We are so grateful to the folks that came forward to support this effort: the Jewish Reconstructionist Community of Evanston, the Unitarian Universalists Congregation in Santa Rosa, Congregation Hakafa in Winnetka, the Center for Spiritual Living in San Jose, Temple Beth Hatfiloh in Olympia, University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, and a few individuals.
On behalf of the folks at the Cooperative, many many many thanks! These new computers will aid in significant improvements in operations and organization.
Mirembe Kawomera “Delicious Peace” featured at the Wild & Scenic Film Festival
The Wild & Scenic Film Festival is an annual event in Nevada City. Over the course of three days, hundreds of environmentally focused films are shown – from features like Food, Inc. to smaller independent work such as Tapped (a compelling film highlighting issues with the plastic water bottle industry and water rights). Thanksgiving Coffee Company was approached to be a sponsor and we realized this festival was a great fit and a great location to promote Mirembe Kawomera “Delicious Peace” coffee as well as the trailer for the upcoming documentary “Delicious Peace Grows in a Uganda Coffee Bean” by independent film makers Ellen Friedland and Curt Fissel.
Mirembe Kawomera Delicious Peace coffee was served all weekend at five concession venues around town and the trailer was shown three times with Jenais and Ben available to speak briefly at two of the showings. The audience was enthusiastic about the coffee, the project, and the trailer.
The Music of PKC Highlighted in Smithsonian Folkways Magazine
For the last few years, our friend, Rabbi Jeffrey Summit from Tufts University, has made three trips to visit the farmers at the Peace Kawomera Cooperative. One primary focus has been field recording the music of PKC’s coffee farmers. Rabbi Summit recently wrote a piece for Smithsonian Folkways Magazine about his work. It’s a great article about music as a means to communicate information, some of the challenges of trying to record in the field, as well as the tremendous labor required by the farmers. Below is an excerpt from his piece but please take a look at the full article:
“There is only one way for an excellent cup of Mirembe Kawomera coffee to get to my kitchen in Massachusetts, and it starts with a farmer in eastern Uganda walking into the field, looking carefully at a coffee tree, and picking the scattered coffee cherries that have ripened. Time is of the essence: cherries must be picked within a three–to–four–day window of ripeness. After picking, the cherries are sorted, washed, hand–pulped, dried, picked over, and bagged to be taken to the cooperative office. My fieldwork has made me acutely aware of this web of connection between us and coffee farmers in Uganda…”
- “Mirembe Kawomera (Delicious Peace) Coffee, Music and Interfaith Harmony in Uganda” Jeffrey Summit, Smithsonian Folkways Magazine, Winter 2010
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