One day as I was weighing coffee cherries, a coffee farmer said to me, “Lai Ya, I can’t believe you paid me right here, right now. Thank you.” A little shocked, I said, “Why would you be surprised? When we came to visit you, we promised that to pay you.”
Then my friend sat down on the log next to me and explained, “You see, there was a big name coffee company that came to this community last year. The manager promised to pay us a good price for our coffee. The community worked very hard, we delivered the coffee to him just as we promised. The company took away over 10 tons of our coffee cherries. The company manager said, “Don’t worry, l’ll send you the money.” The farmer told me, “We really trusted the coffee company. We never thought they would be dishonest with us. But after he took our whole harvest, we were not able to contact him."
"I was crushed. All the farmers that sold their coffee to this man were crushed."
"We had worked for 5 months preparing our harvest. In the end, we were left struggling to feed our families."
The farmer continued, “I know its really difficult getting up this mountain and that transporting our beans down the mountain can be dangerous too. So when Lighthouse Coffee told us that they would like to buy our coffee beans and you came to live in our community, I must confess, I didn’t trust you, Lai Ya."
“But then you paid us cash immediately upon receiving the cherries. I was shocked. You also taught us not to strip the coffee tree of all its fruit but to only pick the ripe cherries for the best tasting coffee. The way you spoke to us and treated us with dignity gave me hope!”
That night as I cooked my rice over the campfire, I knew that my small hardships living on this rugged mountain were worth it. This is why I love my job at the Lighthouse Coffee Farm; it brings dignity and hope to hard-working farmers and their families.
To all our valuable customers: Thank you for choosing Lighthouse Coffee. Together, we are bringing hope to Myanmar.
Lighthouse Coffee Farm, Myanmar