It’s been two months since global officials have officially deemed the famine in the Horn of Africa as the worst to hit the world in a century. During those same two months, I’ve released Coffee Story: Ethiopia and have been speaking to audiences about a broader landscape of possibility in Ethiopia that includes coffee. Coffee Story is the result of five years of work, during which time I never imagined the book would be released to this crisis. But now, eight weeks into speaking, writing, and thinking about the reality of the Ethiopia situation—one with massive problems, massive potential, and massive changes happening daily, I can tell you that this dialog might just have been what this book was made from since the beginning.
Jonathan Ledgard, the Africa correspondent for The Economist magazine, released an article on September 5th that asked how much further we’d come as a global society since the famine of the 1980’s. He interviewed me for the piece, and what follows are my extended answers about the response to the famine, the pattern of media, and patience.