Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Black Gold

After returning in 2009, my fellow travelers and I participated in many presentations around Vermont and New England. As one aspect of our presentation, we were asked to pick one of our pictures and write a creative piece about it. The following picture and writing piece were my final products. The picture is of a leader of a coffee cooperative in Rwanda. He was gracious enough to give us a few hours of his time to explain about his life and the process of coffee making from the tree all the way to the cup. 

The old man sat on the hillside, his hat shading his head from the hot afternoon sun. Shadows revealed the dark lines etched on his face; stories of his life I do not know.

I cannot help but think that those eyes beneath that hat have seen death. Blood spilt mixing with the red Rwandan dirt, staining it forever.

Those ears have heard the clink of the hoe as it breaks up the hard earth, weeding row after row of coffee trees. Caring and tending to nine hundred of them every day.

Those dark, strong hands have picked and carried precious cherries, ripe from the tree.  His calloused hands and sweaty face was all for the sake of black gold; all for the sake of his family. For the sake of sending his children to school.

And I sit next to this man below his rows of coffee trees in the hills of Rwanda. My eyes have not seen what he has seen, but they are open. My ears have not heard what his have heard, but they are ready to listen. And my hands are pale and weak but they are ready for work.

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