Could it get any harder?
I’m having one of those weeks, when I ask myself, “Could it get any harder?’’ As soon as the words leave my mouth, I instantly regret them. We’re battling it all – sick kids, a very sick mom, work and life’s everyday juggles, which alone could make a woman nutty, not to mention down-right exhausted.
Moments later, I find inspiration and perspective when I stumble upon a client blog that provides a glimpse into the life of Rwandan mothers – most of whom are widows raising their own children, along with those who have been orphaned. It makes my life as a working mother look like cake.
I’m talking about 150 women who make up Hinga Kawa, the oldest women’s association in the Rwandan Fair Trade Farming Cooperative. Together, they operate a coffee farm and are working with major US coffee importers to create a successful international coffee enterprise. And, they are succeeding by their own measure. Using proceeds from their coffee revenues, they have built roads, provided universal healthcare to their members and are sending 90% of their children to school (Rwanda’s national average is only 40%).
It’s in sharp contrast to what Americans consider basic rights, which are rarely acknowledged or appreciated. Just expected.
My inspiration comes not from their achievements, but what they endure every day. Not even a month ago, a fair trade representative captured these words from a village woman:
“Our lives are not easy,” she began. “We wake up very early with the sun, strap our babies to our backs and head to the field where we tend to the coffee. We then make sure that our older children get to school on time, and we begin searching for food to prepare for lunch. In addition to gathering food, we must also find wood for a fire. Because food is scarce and not easy to prepare, lunch is generally the only meal we eat all day.”Continued on the next page