Lessons from Rwanda: A Poem by Jono Moehlig

We are thrilled to share this with you. A dear friend of Kula Project, Jono Moehlig, the manager of Land of 1000 Hills Coffee Shop in Roswell, GA, recently traveled to Rwanda, and in this beautifully written and spoken poem, he shares with us his “Lessons from Rwanda.” **Video by Lia Guzman

Jono Moehlig – Lessons from Rwanda from Jono Moehlig on Vimeo.

So they tell me, the world, it doesn’t know how to make any peace and I just think
They haven’t seen Rwanda yet.
War torn killers that have been released and loved by the neighbors they once destroyed.
The first time the word beautiful was ever uttered was on the hills and mountains of a coffee farm in Mbilima.
Roads that were once lined with dead bodies, blood filled rivers and genocide.
Now no more killing fields or road blocks checking for racial distinction.
No more propaganda convincing peaceful men to rape or murder with whatever weapons they could create.
Weather it was farm tools or just bare knuckles.

Dark memories they quickly give way to the presence of the present.
And silence it doesn’t seem to exist amongst the bliss of dancing or singing that makes you disregard the language barriers. Allowing unity to carry you.
Carry you into forgiveness in ways you never imagined, carry into grace, carry you, into impossible places.

For me it carried me into a forest of coffee trees. Wanting to pluck every cherry and savor the sweetness because moments of blessed assurance they don’t make themselves known in the moment that often. Moments when grins mark your soul with the transfer of euphoria, breathing in the moments with Chuma, ingesting his story. 20 years a coffee farmers glory, dreaming of his 3 children’s education. In his mind mandatory, in reality, school fees mounting making my work in the laboratory essential, make something special, worthy of this sacrifice, the toil of these fields.

Harvesting at precisely the right instant, methodically sorting, sacred rhythm sacred work producing more than a sacred product. A beverage taken for granted. It’s the process, procedure of grandeur, producing more than smiles or warm fuzzy feelings it’s reconciliation.
In a country that was perceived doomed to destruction. The struggle for liberation, it continues. Waged in the name of universal human value, we are equal. And the inherent worth of each individual is seen in a single rose placed on a nameless mass grave. Educating future generation instilling the inherent worth of peace between neighbors.

Peace between nations, peace on every hill, every valley, every farm, in every cave, in every life, peace that isn’t just an assumption of living.

On a dirt volleyball court I stand surrounded by primary school kids. I lift my hands up, quickly followed by theirs, I never knew a high five could last forever. Or how the smack of our palms could transfer such cheer, there is no fear in their eyes, No tears to be shed except the ones for gladness. It’s unclear, if this atmosphere will ever cease to be real. But it’s certain that liberation is not their end point. Unity is the only option they perceive to be possible and love it permeates to their core and it’s my joy to share with you theirs. As we receive lessons, we all need to be taught.

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