When We Run
Taken in February 2011; one of the schools On the Ground is helping to build in Ethiopia

Today is Blog Action Day, and I’ve chosen to write about a film I just saw at the State Theatre in downtown Traverse City, Michigan. The theme for this year’s Blog Action Day is food, and When We Run is a great film that not only delves into the topic of fair trade coffee, but also melds it with the fact that people from the U.S. are working together to help build schools for kids in Ethiopia, where coffee beans are grown.

When We Run is a documentary by Mishe Mokwa Media and directed by James Weston Schaberg. It chronicles a run across Ethiopia this past January to raise awareness and money for the development of schools in Ethiopia’s coffee farming communities. It’s a project of On the Ground, a non-profit group that supports sustainable community development in farming regions across the globe, and was shown as part of the 2011 Great Lakes Bioneers Conference in Traverse City.

And when I saw “run,” that’s exactly what it was. A 250-mile run across Ethiopia that raised more than $200,000, allowing the group to build three schools in some of the most impoverished areas of Ethiopia.

I love the “Never give up” philosophy mentioned in that video. We’re so very fortunate to live in a country where many people have not only everything they could ever want or need, but way too much of what they want or need.

Seeing a film like this drives home the fact that we can all do something for those who are less fortunate, whether it’s running across Ethiopia to raise awareness and money for schools, buying coffee that was produced and sold under fair trade conditions, or writing about a film like When We Run to help spread awareness. Everyone has the opportunity to do something to make not only their own communities better, but also our global communities.

When We Run

Local musicians Seth Bernard and May Erlewine are doing their part by traveling to Ethiopia, serenading the runners along the way, visiting the Ethiopian communities, and providing music for the film. Their upcoming CD, New Flower, features songs inspired by their trip to Ethiopia and will be available Oct. 28, 2011.

I don’t see it on, but I’m guessing you’ll be able to buy it from Earthwork Music or Half the proceeds will go back to Ethiopia to continue building schools. See? There’s your chance to do your part.

Here’s more on the Great Lakes Bioneers – another way to do your part…

I Am A Bioneer from rivetentertainment on Vimeo.

I am proud to be taking part in Blog Action Day OCT 16 2011 www.blogactionday.orgPlease check out the other participants of Blog Action Day at the official Blog Action Day site. There are some awesome blogs listed there doing awesome things.

Then hop over to Twitter and search for the hashtag #BAD11 to get real-time updates on who’s posting what. Yep, I’ll be on there.

But even if you’re not a Blog Action Day participant, what are YOU doing to helping local and global communities?

More from Blog Action Day:

My Itchy Travel Feet: Slow Food Dining in Hawaii

Chezsven Blog: Wellfleet Today: Do You Eat Foods Containing GMOs?



  1. this sounds like a really interesting and inspiring film. I try to purchase goods that are beneficial to local communities and encourage fair trade wherever I can.

  2. a really impressing film! it is good to know that there are many people who not only “like” posts like this, but they are there and really help those poor kids. people should talk more about fair trade possibilities.

  3. May I remind your readers that in addition to fair trade coffee, we have American grown coffee available to us? Hawaii produces a fair amount of coffee that’s fabulous. It’s not cheap, but a once in a while splurge will support coffee grown in the US by small farmers.

  4. This run will help raise money to open these new schools in Ethiopia. Will also help the people who work in the coffee farms because they will be able to send their kids to school and also keep their morale high.


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