Among the institutions in our community of Silver Spring, few are beloved as much as a small coffee shop run by two sisters who left Ethiopia in the 1980s to escape violence and political upheaval. Lene and Abeba Tsegaye – with the help of their brother – established Kefa Café in 1996. In a recent Washington Post article celebrating the reopening of the shop after a fire, Lena said the two sisters,
“…wanted their independent coffee shop to be a place where people talked to each other, not just another cafe where people buried their noses in laptops.” There is no WiFi at Kefa, named for the southwestern Ethiopia province where, the 9th-century legend goes, a goat herder named Kaldi saw his animals become so energized after eating coffee beans they couldn’t sleep. “There is a history about coffee,” Abeba said. “It’s not just about getting caffeinated. People make big decisions around coffee.”
The title comes from a sign they recently posted in their window, in celebration of their 20th anniversary in Silver Spring. I love that thought: Gratitude turns what we have into enough. These two sisters — who endured 200-mile treks across deserts and waist-high grass to escape political violence, entry into a new country as immigrants, and a fire that closed their shop for months — have taught so many of us who know them well or on just a casual basis about what gratitude really means.
They also posted another sign with a quote about gratitude from an inspirational writer:
“When we become more fully aware that our success is due in large measure to the loyalty, helpfulness, and encouragement we have received from others, our desire grows to pass on similar gifts. Gratitude spurs us on to prove ourselves worthy of what others have done for us. The spirit of gratitude is a powerful energizer.”Wilferd A. Peterson
Gratitude is more than simply saying thank you, but that’s a good place to start.
Thanks to Lene and Abeba for being you. Thanks for a country that welcomes others to its shores to share in its freedom and bounty. Thanks, as well, to each of you, dear readers, for your interest and support. Have a wonderful July 4th weekend.
More to come…
Image: Kefa Cafe in Silver Spring, MD