April 12, 2007

Late Night PBS

I decided to stay up late (late for me isn't late for you, so hold the scoffing) on Tuesday night and watch PBS. I wake up at 5 am to catch a glimpse of Seth before he heads to work, then I get a few hours alone before the troops join me for breakfast. When Seth pattered to bed and I followed him, I yearned for sleep, and had that feeling behind my eyes knowing if I dared to even sit on the bed I'd probably fall asleep. I also had a sixth sense that if I stayed up I'd probably hear cries in the night from any or all of my kids. They seem to have a sixth sense also and only wake me up when I really need to sleep. I pushed this out of my mind, bade Seth sweet dreams and went downstairs. Why would I choose to forgo an hour and a half of sweet sleep, to watch PBS? I had read (here) about a documentary called Black Gold that aired Tuesday night. The documentary explains the unfair trade practices in regards to Ethiopian coffee. Coffee and Ethiopia are two important things in my life right now. How could I not stay up and watch?

So far I've read a bit about the difficulty that Ethiopian coffee farmers are having with Starbucks. I am not well informed to say the least. I'm up to my armpits in homeschooling, house projects, sick kids, adoption paperwork, new prosthetic leg acquisition, and life in general. This leaves enough time for me to grab a few minutes in the morning to update this blog occasionally, email a few friends and then get down to business with the previously mentioned matters. When I was presented with the option of watching a film dedicated to this issue, I figured that I better take advantage.

I was thrilled with the information and sickened by the contrasts that they presented. These farmers are struggling to feed their families and then they show a blurb showing the excesses of the developed nations that are buying the coffee. Several times through the show I was moved to tears. It seems so hopeless, for these farmers to try and take on Starbucks, Nestle, Kraft… but in all honestly, it's a matter of life and death for them. I can't express how strongly I felt about some of the sentiments in the film. The effects of greedy businesses are far reaching. I sat and thought about the children who are in an orphanage now due to poverty. If the Ethiopian farmers were paid a fair wage for their work, would some of those kids still be at home? I haven't paid much attention to who I bought coffee from. Now my eyes are open to what struggles exist for me to enjoy my cup o' joe every morning. I will support companies that buy fair trade coffee and encourage you to reach into your deep pockets and do it too!

Incidentally, all three of my kids woke up that night. Seth and I decided that it was possibly a night for records as each child woke us up a few times. Neither of us could remember a time that has ever happened. Morning came early, and the coffee mug was there to greet me, but my coffee didn’t taste quite as good as it used to.

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