100% of profits support orphan education in Kenya
Pandemic fatigue. Parenting fatigue. Screen fatigue. Tired of being tired. And perhaps even, dare we write it, all the caffeine just isn't giving you that strength like it used to? Stay with us, we promise this newsletter isn't so depressing :)
We started Ajiri Tea when we were young (19 and 21 years old). And we often wonder, what is it about youth that makes optimism so easy? Do you become more "realistic" as you get older? Do more experiences teach one to not be so optimistic? Nevertheless, our younger selves and more naive selves, built a company firmly rooted in optimism--a vision for the future where small tea farmers have access to a wider market, where women benefit from more financial opportunity, and where orphans benefit from a stable community and quality education. As a small company, always trying to work toward a better future, we thoroughly understand the dreary optimism fatigue.
We've had students getting expelled from school, computers from the Ajiri office stolen, men from the community come in and "skim" some of the women's earnings from them, and grocery stores here in the U.S. charge us an arm and a leg for the "privilege" of being on their shelves. We've asked ourselves "Is it worth it?" "How do we keep going?" What if we (mainly Ann) get arthritis and can't package tea orders anymore? What if babies don't sleep and we can't write newsletters?? What if our father, the unpaid intern, demands a promotion?
Our younger and equally idealistic selves back in 2009 in Kenya
But we keep on going because we have a commitment to communities in Kenya, and moreover, we have a commitment to our former and future selves---that things will and do get better. So here are some secrets we've learned from our eleven years for cultivating baseline hope:
1. Putting all your eggs in a hopeful basket is dangerous, e.g. "things will get better after the vaccine, after the new administration, after I get promoted, after I spend money on clothes I don't need on the internet." Instead, eat hopeful eggs everyday (okay, that metaphor got away from me). Create your own experiences to look forward to. What are you eating for dinner on Tuesday night? What type of Ajiri Tea are you drinking this afternoon? Or start even smaller . . . make your bed so you can look forward to getting back into it.
2. Develop a daily gratitude routine. This can be as complex as a daily list, as meditative as a cup of afternoon tea, or as simple as a "thank you." Say "thank you" to the sun, to your dog, to the hot tea in your cup. It starts to sound silly at first, but saying "thank you" focuses your energy and mind in the moment.
3. Share. Share a joke. Share your favorite podcast. Share the meme of Bernie Sanders sitting in his winter coat. Pick up the phone and share a story. Share a smile. Share a box of Ajiri Tea. Happiness and hope are like a boomerang--you've got to throw it and be surprised when it comes back to hit you.
We're looking forward to the days when we can all meet again. Thank you for taking the time to write, to order, to post about Ajiri---it all refuels our tank of hope and optimism. Thank you for helping us share our good fortune with communities across the world. To hope for better days ahead, but with a firm sense of gratitude and appreciation for today,
Kate, Sara, Ann, Regina, and Difna
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