Posted by Iain Tait, Project Advisor, Madagascar 2012
We often find ourselves saying things like "we should go for coffee sometime", but almost as often, these words are said without much thought, or intention. Coffee is a normal, everyday event. It's how many of us start our day each morning. In Madagascar however, it's a very different story.
Coffee is a good way to determine the cost of living in another country. While we may be fine paying $2.00 or more for a cup on our way to work, a cup of coffee in Madagascar costs only around $0.25. That may seem surprisingly inexpensive, but be sure to put this into perspective. The average Malagasy only earns $1.00 each day. Could you imagine taking a quarter of what you earn and spending it on coffee?
In Madagascar, when you're invited back for coffee, or offered a cup of coffee, it's an important and special occasion. Only when you welcome guests into your home, or when you celebrate life, or mourn death, will there be coffee. Rather than using that cup of coffee to help wake up in the morning, in Madagascar, you share a cup of coffee and make a friend, or celebrate an important event. In fact, coffee is so rare in Ambato Boeni, it's not unusual to use coffee grounds more than once.
Throughout this blog, we've spoken at length about following through on our promise, but this extends much further than working with Ambato Boeni. It extends into our everyday interactions here in Canada also. So, the next time you find yourself saying "we should go for coffee sometime", it's okay to think about the cost, or the amount of time it takes, but be sure to follow through. You should never underestimate the value of a cup of coffee.