Letter from Africa
Going to Aricha, Ethiopia, a nation of coffee
Although the transportation has been improved, still it is tough to travel in Africa. It took 19 hours from USA and 23 hours from Korea to Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
When I visited Aricha 2 years ago, I promised to provide a Pulping Machine for the villagers who needed it desperately.
They receive only 20 cents per kilogram with cherry condition but if it is processed (parchment), they are able to receive about 50 cents per kg.
When we drink a cup of coffee with style, there are tears of the farmers in the cup who cannot come out of poverty for the lack of the machine.
Today, I was invited to celebrate the arrival of the machine! It took 2 years to bring the machine from Colombia with much difficulties. Many people participated in crowd funding for the cost and we at BinChae were able to deliver the machine with their warm hearts. It was truly a meaningful day.
From Addis Ababa(meaning “New Flower”) to Yirgacheffe Aricha, it took 13 hours on mostly dirt road.
On the way, we stopped to taste Gebena coffee and I realized that it was just not an ordinary taste but a thousand years of culture and life of the Ethiopians immersed in the mature taste.
The Welcome of the villagers in Argo
When we arrived in the village in the mountains, we were welcomed by more than 200 people – old and young, children and women altogether. They were shouting and singing a traditional song to celebrate our arrival with enthusiasm and joy.
In front of BINCHAE placard with old villagers
“Your welcoming us is bigger than our gift.”When I finished a greeting with these words, my wife and I were dressed with their traditional outfit.
The village leaders remarked, “with this machine, we hope to increase our income so that our lives may be improved.” I do hope they will.
“How could they have this pure heart?” I kept thinking.Didn’t they gain the heart from nature when they are thankful for small things and do not complain about their discomfort?
The day I made a promise, May 2015
The day I fulfilled the promise, Jan. 2018
I was overjoyed because I was able to keep my promise I made two years ago.Since I have tried hard not to disappoint them, I was relieved to realize that I finally kept the promise.
Yet there is still a problem.
The machine that was sent to them expensively still remained in the garage.There is a government regulation that requires to have a building that can house it properly.It costs about $20,000 but they don’t have that much money. I could not help but to leave the place getting another prayer request.
Lunch at the farm
Welcoming with flowers
At home of Beaniam Hong in the village
We were treated with a lamb that was just slaughtered for us for lunch at the house of Mr Beaniam Hong. Mr Hong came to the village of Aricha 11 years ago. He has become a member of the village, living with the villagers and even built a school for children. People seem to like those who serve them and care for them.
Going to Kenya
Walking safari in Naibasha
We unpacked and rested a little in the house we rented near Nairobi. At night we shared our stories under the stars with a campfire.
Visiting Children’s Home
Last September with the help of missionary Haeyoung Kim we were able to provide nutrition powder from BinChae foundation. We heard that the powder has helped the children’s nutrition much, especially because it was tasty. They asked if we could continue the program.
An 1 year old who was abandoned
Small things that we did became a precious gift to fill someone’s empty hearts and hands. I was reminded of Thomas a Kempis’ words:
“If we do not concern about the things except the will of God and love of neighbor, we will experience abundant inner life.
Isn’t it true that our emptiness inside comes from the concern for myself without concerning our neighbor? It is time for us to lift our eyes to see the Lord, turn our eyes to see our neighbor.We receive our help from the Lord, but we need to give our help to our neighbor.
He saw a great crowd and had compassion for them. And he said “You give them something to eat!” (Matt 14:14-16).
John & Doreen