Growing Peace

By Booklist

Sobol’s account of the Peace Kawomera growers co-op in Uganda is an uplifting story of community and religious harmony that is all the more inspiring when considered against the country’s history of civil unrest. Tracing the co-op’s roots, he introduces its founder, J. J. Keki, who is a coffee grower, musician, and religious leader in his eastern Ugandan village of Namanyonyi. After personally witnessing the September 11 terrorist attack, Keki resolved that it wasn’t enough for the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim communities of Namanyonyi to simply coexist, they must actively support one another. Thus he proposed the coffee growers co-op and worked tirelessly to convince farmers of all faiths to join. In just 11 years, it has grown from 205 members to more than 1,000. Well-chosen color photographs show Keki in his village, families harvesting and processing coffee, and smiling children, both in their places of worship and playing together. Sobol takes care to supply readers with necessary historical and religious context (documented in back matter) without burying the story’s heartening message of peace.