Fall 2011 Trip — Yirgacheffe
Coffee Washing Plant
By Team Member Harry Amend
For me, the trip from Dilla to Yirgacheffe and the trip to the original DTC Holding coffee washing plant was another wonderful story about the beautiful people of Ethiopia.
The scenery along the roadway was stunning. After a drenching rain during the night, the green foliage was glimmering and the Poinsettias were a deep red. We travelled from Dilla to nearby Yirgacheffe to see the DTC Holding coffee processing plant and to meet Tsehaynish.
The children of Ethiopia are everywhere. They’ll stay in my mind and heart long after I’ve returned home. They are physically beautiful and bright-eyed, and as we returned their wave from the bus, they exploded with huge grins, jumping for joy. Even babies who could not walk yet seemed to be able to wave their arms and join in the chorus of “You, you, you.”
I continue to be amazed and envious at the way these people use every last bit of their natural resources. Orderly stacks of all sizes of wood lined the road. Children of all ages carried bark, hay, bamboo, sticks and the ever present water bottles. After the rain, many were washing themselves, their clothes, and yes, even their vehicles (we saw motorcycles, buses, trucks and cars) all with their wheels in the waster as the brown river water “washed” them.
Mike has spoken so adoringly about Tsehaynish, the beautiful 23 year old Ethiopian woman who had severe polio, causing her to live a life of crawling physically from place to place. When Mike and Craig met her underneath the drying racks and learned of her plight, they made arrangements with Dr. Duane Anderson at the Soddo Christian Hospital in Soddo to bring her to the hospital where she underwent major surgery and a long rehab period, which allowed her to walk upright with the aid of crutches.
What happened as we approached Yirgacheffe couldn’t have happened in the most corny Hollywood movie. As we drove along watching the children walking to school, Mike yelled out, “There’s Tsehaynish,” and there she was, walking along the road with her crutches and school books, heading to her third grade class.
Yili stopped the bus and Mike jumped out and from the inside of the bus you could hear her shout, “Oh Mike” as they hugged in the middle of the road and the people of the town quickly gathered around. I thought to myself, “the rest of this trip is gravy.”
We let Tsehaynish go on to school for we had planned to see her later. We continued on to the coffee operation.
Spread over 3-4 acres, this was the site that Mike and Craig had so lovingly poured time, money, and passion into during the early years of this ministry. As the harvest has not yet begun, the workers were cutting up poles, driving them into the ground and re-constructing the drying racks, preparing for the months of work ahead. Mike proudly showed us around the site, educating us on the new processor they had installed and the equipment which could now be used as they expand the operation.
As we were preparing to drive out of the coffee site and elderly man, possibly in his 80’s came up to Mike and asked him “why did you leave us, why did you sell this site?” With the help of Zele, this gave Mike the opportunity to share with the man the reasons why things had happened the way they did. A group of 10-12 men were able to hear Mike’s explanation, but the old man was sobbing at the gate as we drove away.
I know that God must be well pleased with His good and faithful servants, Mike and Craig. Relationships matter in ministry. Relationships built on trust have enabled God’s work to continue on through the efforts of NCF in Yirgacheffe, Ethiopia.