Sometimes, November 8, 2016 feels like a long time ago. That's not an interesting or important date for any particular reason, we just thought we'd mention it.
That's when we landed in Addis for our usual autumn visit. The Ethiopian government eased the restrictions of their national state of emergency between the time we left SFO and the hour we landed. Their state of emergency had been instituted in August, after protests in Oromia (including Jimma) escalated into full-scale street battles.
The decision to go ahead with our trip despite the local conflicts turned out to be a good one. The decision to hire a truck with no windows, bad suspension, poor tires, and a busted exhaust manifold for the all-day drive to Hunda Oli was a bad one.
Mustafa, Hunda Oli's chairperson greeted us as we stumbled out of our exhaust-filled car. There was plenty of work to do.
We adjusted their new demucilager, which had been set so tightly that it was nicking the beans. We inspected their flotation tanks, and discussed how hand-sorting and a shaker will help separate under-ripes and over-ripes.
Very few exporters would come up with those solutions or spend that much time on site. They have too many coffees to buy. They do their work in Addis offices, but we don't have an office in Addis. We don't even have a decent Jeep. But we're glad to cooperate with the people of Hunda Oli, no matter what our respective governments are doing.