Browsing Category


Mochatern Monday 09.19.16 : What is Africa like?

Whenever you travel or experience something new and different, your return home comes with the inevitable onslaught of questions. Boil all those questions down, and everyone is asking essentially the same thing: What was it like? What did life look like there?

This gets at a desire that many of us, especially here at Mocha Club, share: to experience the lives of people who are different from us. What is Africa like? We want to know.

What do you do on a Tuesday morning in urban Kenya? What does Friday night look like in rural Malawi? Is it immensely different from life in America? Is it similar? Whenever it’s me on the receiving end of questions like these, I fumble around for answers, remember we all like showing more than telling, and then stick my iPhone in front of my listeners. This is what driving down the road on a Saturday afternoon in rural Uganda looks like. Cows being herded down the highway. Driving on the left side instead of the right, with innumerable speed bumps when you’re passing through every village. That’s not a baby you hear crying at 0:11 seconds—it’s a goat bleating. Those are the Rwenzori mountains in the distance; you’re heading east. It looks like rain. Of course, this is only a tiny moment—one minute and one second, to be exact. But moments like this can be invaluable to us. We get to step out of our own selves and be someone else for that minute. And when we go back to our own selves, the ones holding a phone or sitting in front of a computer in the United States of America, we find that Africa isn’t so far away after all.

Mochatern Monday 09.12.16: “Sit, sit and watch for a bit. Listen, listen a while before you speak.”

This summer, I went to a faraway place. The dirt covers your feet there, the mountains loom large and the children shout “mzungu!” (white person) as you pass. I went to Bundibugyo, a small town in rural western Uganda, and it did not leave me where it found me.

While in Bundibugyo, I learned to say about forty words in Lubwisi, the local language. I learned to say hello, goodbye, and thank you. I could say chicken, cow, and goat. I was a far cry from any sort of real conversation. I learned to buy chapati (a tortilla-flatbread-pancake sort of thing) from the lady chapati maker on the corner, though I too often forgot to greet her before placing my order. I learned my way around the market, through stalls of cabbage, tomatoes, fish, beans, and rice, always struggling to figure out how Ugandan shillings worked in my American-dollar brain. Though I was welcomed and loved by both the community I lived in and the organization I joined, as I drove eastward to the Entebbe airport on my way out of the country in late July, I knew I’d barely scraped the surface.

Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 1.35.09 PM


I think this gets at one of the biggest things I realized, in those weeks in Uganda: the immense length of time it would take to really become a part of the community. You can’t simply pop over the Rwenzori Mountains from Fort Portal and start enchanting all the locals with your enthusiasm, your willingness to help, or your care for children or elderly people or pregnant women. No, it takes a bit more than that. Because even if you’ve got the Lubwisi down, you’ve got an accent too; and do you really know the culture yet? Do you know why western Uganda is the way it is? Do you fully appreciate all the nuances of life there? And let’s not forget you’re a Mzungu, a white person from a place very far away. Sit, sit and watch for a bit. Listen, listen a while before you speak.

This lesson is one that has served me well, even after returning to America, and into my internship here at Mocha Club. Much of the work that Mocha Club supports is done in places like Bundibugyo, places where joy and brokenness and sorrow and gladness live side by side. The Home Again Children’s Home, for instance, a ministry supported by Mocha Club that provides a home for over 70 children, is in Kaihura, Ugandaa town I drove right through on my journey back to America. These are places with need, but they are not places devoid of of histories, of traditions, of language, or of people who love them. The joy for us comes when we listen, when we wait, and when we join in the work that is already being done.

That’s the real privilege, isn’t it? Even here in the States, somewhere around 8,000 miles from a place like East Africa, we who are a part of the Mocha Club get to join in this work. We get to go to shows, contribute a few dollars a month, see photos, and hear stories of the work already begunwith, not for or around or in spite of, the people in places like Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda. We join in. And maybe that’s all way more humbling than we expectedbut oh, see how much better it all is, and watch how much we learn.

Welcome our new Mochatern, Kelly!

We are excited to welcome another new Mochatern for the Fall 2016 season, Kelly! She has traveled all the way from Harrisonburg, Virginia to hang out with us in Nashville for the season and we are looking forward to having her as part of our day-to-day Mocha Club team!

Name: Kelly OstergrenIMG_5040

Hometown: Pasadena, MD

University: James Madison University, 2013, English

Favorite Place: Anywhere in and around Harrisonburg, VA with a view of the mountains 

Walk up song: Switchfoot’s “Let It Out”

Nashville bucket list: Go on adventures/to concerts with my dear friend who lives here, find bookstores with used books (aka book thrifting), visit Jenni’s on more than one occasion

How I take my coffee: Unadulterated (aka black)

Guilty pleasure: Eating homemade just-out-of-the-oven bread with Irish butter

Why I’m excited about interning at Mocha: I love the way this organization sees aid as a partnership and that African leaders decide what is needed in their communities. Since my experience with nonprofits so far has been focused on the U.S., I look forward to working with an international organization. I love that I’ll have multiple roles and get to be a part of many different projects. I’ve had a great experience meeting staff so far and am thrilled to get to work alongside them!

Welcome our new Mochatern, Lindsey!

We are excited to welcome our new Mochatern for the Fall 2016 season, Lindsey! She was part of the group from Belmont University who partnered with Mocha Club to host a screening of the Poverty, Inc. film on NGOs & foreign aid. We are looking forward to having her as part of our day-to-day Mocha Club team!

Hometown: New York, NYIMG_5041

Belmont University, Junior English major

Favorite place: Climb Nashville. And Portland Brew!

Walk up song? Hymns; any of them.

Nashville bucket list: find decent ethnic foods in this town. Current goals: Ethiopian, Indian, Ramen, and Korean. Any recommendations appreciated!

How do you take your mocha [coffee]? I don’t, actually! But give me tea, no milk no sugar, any day.

Guilty pleasure? Taylor Swift.

Why are you excited about interning with Mocha Club? Excited to see the inner workings and thought behind an Africa-focused nonprofit that I’ve respected for so long!

Mochatern Monday 08.08.16 : “Ubuntu”

Happy Monday, Mocha Club!

I created a painting (you guys will see the video, as well as the painting this week!) and I put the word “ubuntu” on it. It is a theory that comes from the South African region and it means “a quality that includes essential human virtues; compassion and humanity”. And I love it.  I researched it more and I found that in certain regions of South Africa, if someone does something wrong they are taken to the center of the village they live in and the tribe stands around the person in a circle for two days and they talk about all of the good things that person has done. Their belief is that each person is good and they will make mistakes sometimes. They believe that “unity and affirmation have more power to change behavior than shame and punishment.”, which is known as ubuntu.

 I mean how cool is that? That the people in their village make sure that person that messed up knows of all of the good things they have ever done and that through all the bad things, they are not going to “shame” or “punish” them for it, but yet be there for them and help them get through it. I believe that we all somehow have that. I mean, no one surrounds you for two days and talks about the good you’ve done, but we all get reassured of it somehow when we mess up from our friends and family. We know they are there for us through the good and the bad. I think that is pretty awesome.

Peace and blessings,



Mochatern Monday : 07.18.16

Happy Monday Mocha Club!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! So, applications to intern at Mocha Club were due this past Friday and I knew I had to write about why I love interning here at Mocha Club! I figured it was only appropriate.

  1. Free coffee. If you love coffee, you are in the right place. In the kitchen there is a Keurig and all the coffee and necessities you could ever need. Pretty amazing if you ask me.
  2. Africa. It’s amazing what this group of people do for Africa. Just hearing them speak about Africa and what all they are doing to help just shows their passion for the people there. In one of the meetings, the Mocha Journey team came and spoke about the trip and their experiences and it blew me away hearing all of the different stories of what each person experienced and how it impacted them.
  3. Project areas. Mocha Club doesn’t just focus on one aspect of helping Africa. They have five different project areas they work with: clean water, education, economic freedom, orphan care, and health care. I think that is great because most non-profits just focus on one aspect. And getting to somehow help with that just by interning is really cool.
  4. It’s not just office work. At most internships, the supervisor just gives the intern office work to do and doesn’t actually help them learn and show what they are doing. Here, it is not like that. You actually get the hands-on experience. You are apart of everything, just like everyone else in the office is. They are there to help you with whatever it is, whether it’s planning the project or event for the semester or running the social media accounts.
  5. Wonderful group of people. Everyone that works here at Mocha Club is so nice and welcoming. My first day, they were so sweet and seemed excited to get to know the new intern, which helped me know that I was in the right place! They are so great and I am going to be sad when my internship is over.

I am so glad that I chose to intern at Mocha Club. It has been one of the best experiences I have had and I know that this was where I was meant to be.

Peace and blessings,


Mochatern Monday 06.06.16 : Mocha Club Sessions

Hello Mocha Club!

I hope you are having a wonderful Monday! If you got a chance to attend the Mocha Club Sessions then you know how awesome it was. I got to work the merchandise table, but hearing every artist perform blew me away. It was amazing seeing everyone come together for a great cause and I am so glad I got to help be a part of it. Stay tuned for the next date of Mocha Club Sessions because you will NOT want to miss it. Follow along and share your photos : #MochaClubSessions

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Being an intern here at The Mocha Club is pretty awesome because you get to do fun things like this. Never would I have imagined ever getting to experience things like this. I am so excited to see what the rest of the summer here has in store for me!

Peace and blessings,

Welcome, our new summer Mochatern : Meet Katherine!

It’s summertime! And we are excited for what this season holds for the Mocha Club. We have lots of events lined up to share our passion to work in Africa and partner with incredible people across the world to make lives better for those in need. Our mochaterns are a big part of making an impact in Africa, by simply joining our hearts in the work we do. We are excited to have Katherine join our team!

FullSizeRenderName: Katherine Daniels

Hometown: Brentwood, TN

University/Year/Major: Middle Tennessee State University. Senior. Leisure Sports and Tourism Studies major with a focus on event planning.

Favorite Place: New York City

Walk up song: What Do You Mean by Justin Bieber

Nashville bucket list: take the country music stars homes tour, visit every museum in Nashville, and go to CMA Fest.

How do you take your mocha: it has to be medium roast coffee with hazelnut creamer. SO yummy!

Guilty pleasure: binge watching Friday Night Lights

Why are you excited about interning with Mocha Club: I am excited to intern with Mocha Club because it is a new experience for me, I know that I am going to gain more knowledge of the Mocha Club as well as helping with the events, and getting to meet new people!

Mochatern Monday 05.02.16: “Thankful!”

Hey, Mocha Club friends!

Happy Monday! This is sadly my last Mochatern Monday post for you, as my spring here at Mocha Club has come to a close. I am so sad to leave the people and love that I have found here this semester, but I am so grateful for the experience that I have had, and the lessons that I have learned. For my last post, I wanted to make a list of all of the things here at Mocha Club that I am thankful for. And, of course, to thank you, the readers of our blog here, for helping us serve Africa, and keeping up with what we have going on! Here it goes…

  1. I am thankful for the people here, the Mocha Club team. Each one of them has worked each day to make me feel like a welcomed, valued member of the team, and I am so very happy that I got the opportunity to meet each one of them. They are a special group of people with big hearts!
  2. I am thankful for these Mochatern Monday posts! I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts through my writing, and to be able to communicate with all of you out there who follow us, and read what we have to say.
  3. I am thankful for weekly staff meetings and morning prayer. I have loved the times when the whole team gets to come together and share what is going on, and the opportunity to pray for one another.
  4. I am thankful for endless coffee and Diet Coke! Every morning when I woke up, I couldn’t wait to get to Mocha Club, because where I get to make my coffee (with French Vanilla creamer!).
  5. I am thankful for our friends and servant hearts in Africa, who help us just as much as we help them! I am thankful to have gotten to know Africa a little bit better, and for the lessons I have been taught even from so far away.
  6. I am thankful for our merchandise and the people who order it! I loved getting to write little notes to all of you on your order summaries, and spread the Mocha Club cheer!
  7. I am thankful for my desk in the front room of the office, for the people I got to talk to on the phone, and those I was able to greet and offer a cup of coffee too. I am thankful for the opportunities I have had to come in contact with people that I may not have ever met.
  8. I am thankful for the opportunity to organize and take pictures for our social media accounts, and to come up with captions as well!
  9. I am thankful to have gotten to know our Mocha Club artists better through weekly artist updates and special events. I am grateful to know some of the biggest supporters of Mocha Club.
  10. I am thankful for this opportunity to intern at this super cool environment. I am thankful for lessons learned and new friends made!

Thank you all for reading along with me this semester! Mocha Club is a special place, and I am thrilled that I was able to be a part of it for a little bit!

Much love,

Mochatern Monday 04.11.16: World Health Day

Greetings, Mocha Club!

It’s Monday again. My Mondays are always set to the tune of the very popular song by the The Bangles (It’s just another manic Monday…). I don’t actually dread Mondays as much as I used too. Every Monday is like a miniature fresh start, or a reminder that whatever we feel like we didn’t do well or couldn’t accomplish the week before is in the past. We get to start anew each week! On another positive note, I think that spring has finally sprung. The world seems a little greener lately. And despite a slightwind chill, the sun is back in business to supply warmth yet again.2W2B0363

Last Thursday was. World Health Day is a global health awareness day falls on April 7th each year. World Health Day was started by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1948, and the decision to make April 7th the official date came two years later in 1950. The importance of World Health Day is that it is an annual opportunity to bring people’s attention to the state of health worldwide. Each year, WHO organizes events for World Health Day based on a specific “health theme.” The organization sheds light on the statistics of certain health issues that affect the us on all on a global level, and offer ways in which we can work together to prevent certain diseases and ailments from taking over our lives. The theme for 2016 was Beat Diabetes.

As many of you know, one of our five project areas here at Mocha Club is healthcare. It is of major concern that many of the countries in Africa do not have proper healthcare systems, or any healthcare system at all. Therefore, when people of all ages are faced with sickness and disease, they often have nowhere to turn. Therefore, another important aspect of the awareness brought about by World Health Day is that it brings attention not only to the theme for the year, but also the need to provide decent, accessible healthcare to all people, no matter where they live. While we have much and varied access to healthcare and modern medicine here in America, it is important to recognize that we are very lucky, and that we should be working to see that what is provided for us, can be provided for all people.


Fortunately, Mocha Club is able to work to provide healthcare for people in Africa because of you, our members! For instance, the development of the New Dawn Clinic in the Huruma and Githogoro slums near Kenya and HEKO in Nairobi’s Kibera slum were made possible with your help, prayers, and kindness. Through these clinics, people are able to seek treatment for HIV/AIDS, be provided with vaccinations, and have general ailments fixed, such as bandaging wounds. I wanted to take the opportunity to thank you for helping us reach beyond our borders and help to provide healthcare and assistance to those suffering from sickness and disease. We cannot do these things without you!

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and I will see you next Monday!

Thank you for giving!