Published on December 22nd, 2011 | by Becky Striepe0
How a Rural Georgia Farm Changed the Lives of Ethiopian Villagers
A rural Georgia farmer’s donkey-powered mill is changing lives for women in an Ethiopian village.
My friend Margie runs a CSA here in Atlanta, which means she visits lots of farmers in Atlanta and Athens. When she texted me Tuesday morning to see if I wanted to ride along to some Athens farms and have lunch at The Grit, you know I was down!
We rode out to Mills Farm just outside of Athens to pick up organic corn grits and corn flour, and I got to have a really nice chat with Alice Mills, who runs the farm with her husband Tim. She told me a story that sort of blew my mind, and I just think it’s an amazing example of the power of community.
Alice and Tim have a couple of friends who are missionaries to a village in Ethiopia. In this village, as in a lot of Ethiopian villages, the women are responsible for grinding sorghum, which is a major food source there. They grind it by hand, using a mortar and pestle.
When their missionary friends saw Tim and Alice’s mill, they commented that it would change the lives for those villagers. Alice and Tim had a friend who was an engineer, and he drew up blueprints of the mill, and when it came time to replace it, they sent the old mill to Ethiopia along with the plans. Now, those villagers run their mill with a couple of oxen, and the women don’t spend their days grinding sorghum.
You can imagine how this has changed the lives for these women. Just like women who have to spend the better part of their days hauling water for their families, spending the day grinding the sorghum is such a waste of their skills, when there’s a better way. These women can now spend their time earning money for the family or getting an education!