03 June 2007

Black Gold

Its hard to imagine sorting coffee beans all day long for 50 cents. But thats what the women make at the Export Coffee Factory where they sit for 8-9 hours corralled in long rows, endlessly separating bad beans from good beans. The conveyor belt keeps an ample supply at their fingertips, and they hardly look up from their work when our class of 21 8th graders enter the factory to see for ourselves what the Black Gold documentary so powerfully portrays.

Even though the Oromio Coffee Farmers Union doesn't seem to have done anything for these working conditions or wages, they are dramatically improving the circumstances for Ethiopia's coffee farmers. Particularly now with the Black Gold documentary telling their story. Ethiopia, whose claim to fame is the invention of coffee, exports the good stuff all over the world. The country is pretty much dependent on it, as it more or less keeps the "economic pistons pumping." However, even as the coffee industry as risen dramatically over the last few years, the Ethiopian farmers are still getting a pitiful price for their pure product.

Our class really enjoyed watching it, and it has some great footage of Addis and the Ethiopian countryside. If you happen to see it, you might not ever enjoy your 5 dollar Venti soy latte double shot expresso Americano the same. And to hear that from my wife--now that's saying something.


No comments: