In 2005 we received a gift basket containing, among other items, a sample packet of “Mirembe Kawomera” “Delicious Peace” coffee with a description of the interfaith Ugandan cooperative and its goals of peace and prosperity. We had produced documentaries in the past on wartime issues, including one we filmed in Kosova immediately after the genocide where we witnessed unspeakably gruesome scenes that left us gasping for hope. It arrived and intoxicated us – in the form of packets of coffee that tasted “kawomera” – delicious – and exemplified “mirembe” – peace – between the Christian, Muslim and Jewish farmers who had formed a cooperative. We knew immediately that this was a story we wanted to shout to the world – a lesson about how neighbors with a history of conflict found a way to live together in harmony and improve their lives of destitution burdened by disease, a lack of sanitary conditions, and impoverishment. For us, documentary production is our storytelling canvas.
With Uganda’s Garden of Eden appearance inspiring the documentary’s spirit, the cinematography is breathtaking. The farmers opened their lives and experiences to us, sharing personal moments. Those sound bites, together with the general organizational flow, heading slates and short voiceover segments, form a strong and engaging scriptwriting backbone. The graphics were designed to mirror the feel of Uganda. The music, all themed to “Mirembe Kawomera” cooperative, was completely produced by the farmers, who performed live for us to record when we videotaped the documentary in Uganda. And when we returned to the US and gushed emotions and video about this very special story, we found kindred spirits in the narrator, producers and others who jumped on board.
It is our hope that the collective artistic expressions that comprise the documentary will spark a distribution as contagious as the beautiful and paradigmatic exemplary underlying story of peace and economic development spearheaded by a small group of interfaith farmers living in a rural Ugandan community outside Mbale, Uganda.