A Year of Turbulence and New Hope in Ethiopia's Critically Important Gedeo Zone
Anybody who visited the town of Yirgacheffe this year will have noticed the sad condition of the once well-respected Mahalet Hotel, where many coffee buyers stay every year during sourcing season. Venturing beyond Yirgacheffe, and winding into Chelelektu, the destruction of businesses and property, coffee and non-coffee alike, is pronounced. Even prior to reaching Yirgacheffe town, one can simply look around at the impact of this uprising as you wind through Wenago, Gwangwa and Chelba. Each visit into the heart of the Gedeo Zone this year was strictly curated. While the visits were welcomed, any foreign coffee buyers had to obtain special permission. Tension was heightened.