Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kimil Coffee Plantation

Saturday am a bunch of us went to Kimil to their coffee plantation. Meghan Harlan, a volunteer here, knows someone from her hometown who buys coffee from this place, so she wanted to see it. The Radcliffe family was gracious enough to take the singles out there Saturday am. We had a good time. We were originally thinking we were just going for a picture as we didn't arrange for a tour, but that changed when we got there. The manager of the plantation is an Indian guy who both Jim and I have taken care of in the hospital. He has invited us to come and see his plantation numerous times, but for various reasons we hadn't gotten out there. So when we saw him and started talking with him, he graciously gave us a tour of the place.
Coffee is pretty big in the Highlands of PNG. Almost everyone has one or lots of coffee trees which they harvest each year. They collect the coffee beans and then sell them to the plantations. They often use the money to pay for school fees for their kids, or other expenses. At times in the hospital a patient will say they don't have money to be admitted now, but next week after they sell their coffee they will come back. This plantation is, apparently, one of the biggest producers of coffee in the Highlands. We got to see all the machines they use to break the shells, clean, ferment, sort, and dry the beans. The guys working at the factory were very excited about showing us what they do and what the machines do. I don't drink coffee, so I don't appreciate how good the PNG coffee is, but from what everyone else says, it is pretty good. So the next time you are at Starbucks and get PNG coffee, it is likely that the beans are probably grown somewhere close to me here in the Highlands of PNG.