Coffee as Mission 2020 Update
In the Highlands of Papua New Guinea, almost every family with a small amount of traditional land has a few coffee trees in a ‘coffee garden.’ Coffee that is grown a mile high in good soil watered with mountain pure rain has the potential for being the best there is. But… Imagine being a coffee farmer and having never seen a roasted bean? Never tasted ‘real coffee’ or heard how it got from your hands to the instant coffee in the small local grocery store? Had no teaching on why the beans must be precisely picked and stored in order to preserve quality? Yes, that would describe most small coffee farmers. Many walk the sacks of cherries or dried beans for hours to the nearest road, then sit in the sun waiting for a coffee buyer to pick it up and hopefully pay the current price. A prevalent mindset informs the people, ‘if there is enough for today it is enough.’ For some, coffee is a ‘social crop’—when bride price or funeral costs are needed there are coffee trees to fall back on. Others call coffee season ‘beer season’ for obvious reasons.
In order for farmers to see their coffee as real business that produces family income, a change in mindset must come first. Enter CHE core values: sustainable community ownership, integration of physical-spiritual-social-mental, multipliable training, prevention rather than cure. And enter Emma, a dynamic woman from the area who is the MAI Area Coordinator for PNG. Though not a trained coffee expert, she has worked hard in becoming one. Returning to her father’s traditional land and an idle coffee mill after years of education in Australia including a Master’s degree in Health Policy and Planning, she was prepared to blend business with mission.
Defining it as a Social Enterprise, her goals are People-Planet-Prosperity, which in CHE terms translates to harmony with each other, self, the environment and God. From coffee cherry to the cup, we want the chain shortened and the profits returned to PNG to sustain the CHE programs in the communities, including the Area Coordinator and other trainers who need travel funds to keep visiting communities. All this is possible because we coffee drinkers want our daily grind to count for something bigger. We believe it can all happen with God’s help and for His Kingdom intentions.