Comment

Friends! Check your emails. We've just sent out our first newsletter from Tanzania. We had hoped it would be filled with photographs from the last two months, but the internet wouldn't allow. If you haven't subscribed to receive our newsletters, you can read it and subscribe here

// aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

Friends, meet our little home in Moshi! We’ve moved in and spent two nights here, but we are far from settled… We love it, but as living in Africa would have it, we’ve had so many issues already. Our first day in the home we had a flood in one of the rooms after a hard rain. This particular room had the ceiling repaired just days before, only to be ruined again. A fundi will be coming on Monday to see where it’s leaking and repair it. We have extremely low electricity at the moment. From what we’ve heard, it seems others are having similar issues. Our lights work, but we don’t have enough power to charge our laptops, run a fan, heat water for a shower, or run our refrigerator. In fact, due to our fridge being off the past two days, it’s completely hot inside and we’re currently unable to store any food. And lastly, our phones have very little service at our home and we aren’t able to access internet at all. We’re certain everything will work out and hopefully we’ll be back to posting regular updates soon!

Comment

Comment

Today marks one month of our living in Tanzania, and we’ve yet to find a place to call home. The concept of home is very important to us and always has been. But now that we find ourselves in a foreign country, strangers in a new land, we feel that what we come to call home here will carry more meaning for us. One definition of home is a place where something (or in this case, someone) flourishes. And in many ways, the home is the place where one is able to become rooted in the community. Indeed, it is the locale within which one begins to put down roots.

We found a house today that feels like a place we’d like to call home. It’s small, cozy, and simple in the best way possible. The back of the property is like a permaculture oasis: a food forest producing herbs, bananas, avocados, papayas, coconuts, limes, mangos, passion fruit, etc. This home is already producing so much food. Not only will we not have to invest a lot of money in establishing a garden/food forest on the land, but it will also reduce how much outside food we’ll have to buy for ourselves.

We’ve talked with the owner and we’ll meet her on Friday to negotiate and maybe we’ll even sign a contract. The avocado pictured here is fruit from the garden. Here’s to hoping we’ve found our home.

Comment

Comment

— click the arrows above to view images —

Today marks one week since we finished our Permaculture Design Certification course. We learned so much and are grateful for the wisdom that we gleaned during those two weeks. 

Permaculture has given us a new lens through which we now experience life and view the things around us. We have a deeper awareness of our relationship with others and with creation... of the interdependency of it all. 

Permaculture has given us much hope for the work we have ahead of us. There is a great need for this knowledge here and we are happy to pass it on.  

- - -

One of our instructors during the course, Janet Maro of Sustainable Agriculture Tanzania, is from the Chagga tribe in the Kilimanjaro region. As we shared about the work of After Trade, she said that she believes our work will be well received. She explained that traditionally the way the Chagga people grew coffee was in alignment with the principles of Permaculture. However, with the lapse of time, they became westernised, as other farmers have, in their coffee cultivation. What was once diverse have since become monocultures. But monocultures are far from resilient. When a single crop fails, there is no backup plan, nor a profit for food or extra funds to pay school fees for their children. 

- - -

Following the course, we’ve received several opportunities to put to practice all that we’ve learned. We have decided to take these opportunities as they will only further prepare us for our implementing Permaculture with coffee farmers. 

We’ll speak more to these opportunities as we get started with them but we are very excited to be getting our hands in the dirt so soon. We believe it is best to practice right away than to sit on the wisdom and not continue our learning. 

Just today we were at a local orphanage in Moshi assessing their property to help them start a couple of large compost piles. We were also able to give advice regarding their garden beds that will result in better yields. And we got to spend a bit of time with a couple of little ones that will benefit from the good food that will be produced at this home. 

- - -

For more of a personal update: we are still house-hunting, but so ready to have a home and finally feel settled here. We’ve been living out of the backpacks we used as our carry-on luggage during our flight. In the meantime, we’re staying with the most wonderful family. 

We are also in debate about language school. At present we are teaching ourselves. Language school is very expensive, so we are considering hiring a private tutor rather than paying for school and lodging elsewhere. 

We will try to update as much as possible. The power has been off and on and we've lost much of the content we've tried sharing. However, we are both regularly posting to our Instagram accounts. Feel free to follow us there to keep up with our journey:

@stephanieberbec
@stevenberbec

// aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

Here are a few images from our flight, descent and arrival in Tanzania, and some photos from our first full day of errands: visiting a small organic market, the bank, and picking up our truck from the mechanic.

Please forgive our lack of updates... We're exhausted from our travels, but so so so happy to finally be here. We are still overwhelmed by the love and support we've received from our friends and family to get us here, and make the work of After Trade a reality. Thank you, thank you, thank you. 

 

Comment

Comment

We have three days remaining and $2,270 left to raise. 

We said goodbye to another friend today, as we have almost each day this past week. Taylor had her After Trade journal with her so we asked if we might be able to photograph it to show how she's using it. All of our dreaming and brainstorming and hopes for what has become After Trade was done on paper. Our printmaker friend Farrah does incredible work with textiles and paper, and produced these moleskine journals for us. It's neat to see them finally being used for others sketching, dreaming, and becoming.

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We have five days remaining and $2,515 left to raise. We can hardly believe how close we are to meeting our goal and we're so grateful for friends, family, and strangers who've helped us get this far. 

The next five days will be full of goodbyes and final visits with friends and family. We realized that today was the only day remaining that has not been filled with scheduled visits, so we started packing!

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We have five days remaining and $2,515 left to raise. We can hardly believe how close we are to meeting our goal and we're so grateful for friends, family, and strangers who've helped us get this far. 

The next five days will be full of goodbyes and final visits with friends and family. We realized that today was the only day remaining that has not been filled with scheduled visits, so we started packing! 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

A few months ago we befriended someone on Tumblr, who immediately recognized the hope in After Trade. His name is Chris. Working in the coffee industry himself, Chris has seen the ascetics of it all and understands that the industry tends to mask the harsh reality of farmers from the consumers. 

Today, we received a Christmas present from Chris: a textbook for our permaculture design certification course in Tanzania. This course will train us for sustainable farming in a Tanzanian context, invaluable for our work with After Trade. Knowing that Chris had a connection with Powell's we inquired about the possibility of us purchasing this expensive textbook with his discount. We never imagined his response would be that he would gift us this book and cover the costs of shipping because he wanted to support our work. His kindness brought tears to our eyes—what an intentional gift! A true gift is one that provokes us to thought and leads us to embrace more life. With this book there is promise to rehabilitate the exhausted land that farmers struggle to work with. This book gives us hope that one day these farmers will be able to cultivate sustainable livelihoods, not just for themselves, but for generations to come. 

Aside from Tumblr, and one phone conversation, we are essentially strangers to Chris. We've yet to meet in person, but are hopeful that we'll have this opportunity in the future. The kindness we've received from strangers has completely overwhelmed us. Thank you Chris and all who have continued to pour out their support for After Trade. Truly, you all are a gift to us. 

We have six days remaining and $2,855 left to raise. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

Is it just us, or does counting down the days make them go by faster? Our flight departs one week from today! 

It seems that with each new chapter in our lives, our wardrobe has changed. Our move to Seattle necessitated a closet of wool sweaters and socks, heavy coats and boots. It’s changing again with our move to Tanzania as we leave much of these things behind. We’re taking things like work pants, overalls, t-shirts and wellies—necessities for the work we’ll be doing. We are looking forward to a more simpler way of life to accompany a much simpler wardrobe.

We need $3,170 to reach our goal that will help us cover the costs of work permits and language school. We’re so grateful for the support of our incredible friends. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We leave North Carolina exactly one week from today for Philadelphia. We will depart from Philadelphia for our move to Tanzania in 8 days. 

Things have been a bit slow the last few days on GoFundMe. With no donations in the last 3-4 days, we still have $3,300 left to raise. We are hoping to get closer to our goal during this final week. 

We’ve tried to be transparent throughout the course of our fundraising and preparing for our move. You may consider today’s photo as another glimpse into our life and process. Last night was the first time I (Stephanie) really cried, and still more tears have been shed today between the both of us. 

Don’t let our excitement fool you. This move is not easy. In fact, there are moments when it is completely terrifying, just the unexpectedness of it all. And we’re okay admitting these feelings because we realized a long time ago that life in Tanzania, away from friends and family, would never be easy. But we’d be foolish if we never allowed ourselves a few moments to feel the weight of this. 

So we’re just going to feel it today and that’s okay. Happy Sunday, friends! 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

Only 9 days remaining before we leave for Tanzania and $3,300 left to raise! 

Rollins did not want to participate in today’s photo unless it included a belly rub during the shoot or eating the coffee beans. But we wanted to share with everyone that this week he was approved to fly! This is a huge relief for us, as he is part of our family and we couldn’t imagine going to Tanzania without him. 

His sky kennel arrived on Wednesday, he visited the vet twice this week for a physical and shots, and they have overnighted his information to New York and we should receive his official health certificate any day now. We have to brag on our local vet here in North Carolina. They bent over backwards to accommodate with all the crazy things Tanzania required. 

We also learned that an import permit was required for Rollins to enter into the country, but this could only be obtained from Tanzania. The phone numbers and email addresses on the Tanzanian Embassy website were all invalid. We had to contact a local vet in Arusha to get her assistance with getting us this permit. She worked quickly, and we received it in record time on Friday. 

Please send all positive thoughts and prayers for little Rollins. We’re really nervous about him having to fly under the plane, and making our connecting flights. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

Only 10 days remaining before our move to Tanzania and still $3,300 left to raise. 

In many ways, our current labor is preparing us for the labor that lies ahead, as well as the patience to endure. We're grateful for all the extra work in these last few days to help us get to Tanzania. 

Please consider donating to help us meet our goal. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We have 11 days remaining before we leave for Tanzania and only $3,300 left to raise! 

We're working hard this week to finish writing all of our "thank you" cards and we'll be getting them, along with the After Trade moleskine journals in the mail! The generosity of friends and strangers alike has blown us away. We are so grateful. Thank you for believing in us and this work. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We have 13 days remaining before our departure and $3,970 to be raised.

A book we've read recently on what it means to be present in the midst of violence highlights four models of engagement: working for, working with, being with, and being for.* Most forms of social engagement on behalf of justice involves our working for or being for. That is, we become aware of an injustice and usually from afar, we work for them or we vocalize our being for the oppressed. But the more radical forms of social engagement are working with and being with. And these latter models represent precisely our hope in the work of After Trade. Being with is not fundamentally about finding solutions, but about being in community amid struggle. Working with is about together finding concrete solutions and bringing change that is for the common good of all.

For us, it was not enough to simply be for justice on behalf of the oppressed within the coffee industry. It was not enough to only work with buyers and traders to promise higher wages. Justice, for us, has been a call to join—being with and working with farmers and families. 

If you believe in us and this sort of work, please consider making a donation to help us leave in 13 days and make After Trade a reality. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

*The book referenced above is: Living Without Enemies: Being Present in the Midst of Violence

 

Comment

Comment

With only two weeks remaining before our anticipated departure for Tanzania, we are starting a daily countdown. This is our final stretch for fundraising. We need $4,000 in 14 days or we'll be unable to leave. 

We haven't gone about fundraising in a traditional way of visiting and speaking at churches all over the southeast. It has been important to us from the beginning that the After Trade model is upheld even on this side of things. As we've said countless times, After Trade is about having intentional, genuine relationships with coffee farmers and families, and that starts here. Our supporters are just a handful of incredible folks that we know and have relationships with. Starting this work in a third world country is not as cheap as one may think. Truly, After Trade is working from the ground up. And you all are a testament that even a small collective of people can make a difference in this world. 

Please share our GoFundMe page and help us spread the word. And please consider donating. Every little bit helps. If you can give just $20, that helps tremendously. 

Thank you for believing in us and this work. We are so grateful.

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

I Support After Trade and So Should You: Coffee, Development and Relationship

This is a guest post from a friend, mentor, and former professor, Pat Loughery. This post was originally published on his blog, patloughery.com and has been adapted to fit this audience. We are so grateful to have people like Pat in our lives and so grateful to have his support of this work. Pat is one of the few who heard our dreams of After Trade very early on, when it still so rough around the edges, even before we knew what to call it. As his post will reveal, he is too kind. It is truly an honor to call him friend. 

Thank you, Pat. 


I want to bring to your attention a nonprofit development agency that I am supporting (financially and emotionally and prayerfully), and that I encourage you to support as well: After Trade.

They are working on the long-term relationship with coffee farmers in a way that is more holistic than simply just and fair trade. 

I know After Trade’s dreamers and creators, Steven and Stephanie Berbec. Stephanie was a student in the first spiritual formation course I taught at The Seattle School of Theology & Psychology. I was immediately impressed by her brilliance, vision and passion. Stephanie was clear in the focus of the work they were dreaming toward, and impressive in her depth of wisdom and ability to communicate it – She’s a fantastic writer and photographer. I’ve turned to them as trusted resources for learning about international development, food and land, economic justice and other related issues.

If you’re concerned about the viability of a new development project, it’s helpful to know that After Trade is partnering with an existing organization already working in Tanzania: EITanzania.

I encourage you to read their website to learn more about them, and if you are excited about this work as I am, donate to them. I am careful with the work I financially support and/or publicly associate with, but I’m thrilled and honored to be part of After Trade’s support team.

— — —
Some other organizations I’ve aligned with and support: Kiva, One Day’s Wages, Mustard Seed Associates.

Pat Loughery •  software engineer, professor of Christian spirituality, photographer and writer.  • Seattle, WA

Pat Loughery • software engineer, professor of Christian spirituality, photographer and writer. • Seattle, WA


Comment

Comment

We have 19 days remaining before our move to Tanzania! You all have helped us get this far, and we can’t thank you enough.

We have $4,580 left to raise in the next 19 days. This amount is just enough to cover our work permits and language school. Work permits are a requirement for any foreigner intending to reside in Tanzania. Language school, for us, is a necessity. We can’t imagine being able to do any sort of meaningful work or having genuine relationships with farmers and families without knowing the language. 

Please consider helping! Thank you for being on this journey with us.

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org

Comment

Comment

We hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas. This may be the last Christmas we spend in the States for the next few years. We glanced at our calendar yesterday and couldn’t believe how quickly time has passed. 

We have just THREE WEEKS remaining before we leave for Tanzania. This also means we have only three weeks to raise $4,955 for our upfront moving costs, and a bit more monthly support. After Trade is a movement working from the ground up. We wouldn’t be this far without a handful of people believing in us and this work. 

A friend shared with us a proverb of sorts that it’s been said how you enter the new year determines how you will be in the year to follow. What better way to make this a reality than by closing out this year in the spirit of generosity. It is beautiful to see people give out of their abundance. But it is perhaps far more beautiful to see people give when their giving is a sacrifice. 

We have sold all of our belongings to move to a land where people have far less than we’ve ever had to experience. Our sacrifice is less evident in ridding ourselves of material things, and more visible in that we are giving our lives to this work and to the people it will affect. We see this not as a sacrifice of who we are, but a stepping into what it means to be human, to be in relationship, and to live intentionally and faithfully with one another and together on the land. 

But we can’t do this alone. And if you choose to get involved, it will also come at a cost. After Trade is a testament that even a small collective of people can make a difference in this world. Please consider getting involved to help us meet our goal and make the work of After Trade a reality. 

www.gofundme.com/berbecstanzania
www.aftertrade.org/#donate

Comment