So many of my friends have been asking why I would post something as innocuous as a video about making coffee. Well the truth is I have a friend in Burundi who has an orphanage. well that was random, you’re probably saying about right now. Here’s the thing, Burundi, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Tanzania are basically the cradle of the coffee juggernaut of today. They also happen to be the places, at least Burundi and Rwanda are, where genocide has been become so ubiquitous as to be almost a blood sport. My friend Dieudonne knows about this first hand. See, he was a Tutsi…that’s as opposed to a Hutu. As anyone who has seen Hotel Rwanda knows, these two people groups hate each other. The weird things is they are not different ethnically at all. They were simply groups the occupying Belgians made up so that they could tell the people apart. They needed a ruling class of Africans, and couldn’t stomach that all of the Africans should be near equals to them. They needed some black people to stomp on so they made the shorter, barrel-chested, muscular ones Hutus and proceeded to make them the working class…the taller more elegant ones, with more aquiline features, were Tutsis and they became the ruling class. Think Ugandan versus Ethiopian… or Idi Amin versus Iman. They perpetuated this by encouraging intermarriage between the new classes, but not without. Thus, the ruling class got all the education and money and comforts of life…the Hutus got the shaft. Therefore, whenever the Belgians eventually left the country the largest group, the Hutus, overthrew the minority of Tutsis. Well perhaps they overthrew them, beat them, chopped them up, burned the pieces and scattered the ashes would be more accurate. Again, I’m sure you remember what the movie depicted…so you can imagine. However the sadder part is that the Belgians had also divided the country at one time in the same way they had divided its people. Burndiwanda was its name and it became Burundi & Rwanda. But where as Rwanda became a sexy bastion for the politically correct dollars to accumulate, Burundi is rarely if ever known about. It is desolate. There is extreme poverty, starvation, near anarchic conditions…and nobody even knows these people exist. Well Andrew Palau and his dad do, they brought Nicole and I over there in the first place. I can’t thank them enough. I can honestly say it’s the only country in Africa I’ve been scared to be in. It’s simply a violent place. They have just had their first constitutionally elected president make it through a full four-year term…without being murdered!

My friend Dieudonne was a Tutsi. His parents were involved in the government and were…deposed. Dieu went on to raise him self on the mean streets of Bujumbura. When he was a teenager a visiting American woman gave him two things…her spare money as she got on the plane and salvation. She presented the gospel, to Dieu who received it gladly, and the paper money and left for the States. He never saw her again. But the words she said are being lived out to this very day. “Don’t spend all that on yourself”. Dieudonne would use the money in hand to gather street orphans to himself like a Tutsi pied piper and he multiplied the money by creating little businesses they could all do. Today he runs an orphanage for 100 children and has just sent some of the toddlers from that first encounter to University…but he’s running out of money. We’re not talking about thousands of dollars here, but rather hundreds of dollars that save REAL lives in the land of the un-sexy genocide, Burundi.

And that is where the coffee came in. I was thinking, what if we opened a coffee-house here in Nashville. There is a large contingency of Burundian folk here who fled the last genocide in 2007…2007! What if the refugees ran and operated the coffeehouse? What if Dieudonne’s orphans could grow coffee, and we bought from them as our supplier? The few thousand generated would change the world of 100 children almost overnight, and would surely lead to more children being added to the fold. What if we made it really special by doing coffee the way it used to be done…like in the video above? Run by Africans, supplied by Africans, supporting Africans. Call it something like “Burundiwanda House….Home of the Un-sexy Genocide”!


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