Finally a story to close. The name of our company, here on the ground in Uganda is
'Zukuka Bora'. 'Zukuka' is a Lugandan (local language) word meaning 'wake up',
and 'Bora' means 'the best'. So roughly translated it means 'the best wake-up'.
However the word 'Zukuka' has come to mean a lot more through the season - in a
way which was best exemplified through just one event at the end of a very long
day on the mountain.
We were just closing up the washing station, tired from
the day's activities when an old mama walked up with a small black bag. It was
early in the season and we'd had a fairly tough day of sorting through coffee
and showing that we really were serious about only wanting the best and most
Our expectations were fairly low for what this small plastic bag
at the end of the day would contain. As we opened the small bag - which must
have been less than 1kg - you can imagine our delight as we came across the
most perfect and ripe cherries we had seen, not just that day, but all season!
We were all pretty stunned, and asked the old mama who had told her about the
project and who had instructed her to only bring red cherries. She told us that
she had heard about us and our desire to only produce quality coffee. She was
thrilled and immediately went to her garden and did something that she had
always done when she was younger, but hadn't done for about 30 years - picked
only the best coffee cherries. She didn't need to be told how to pick properly
- it was the way it always had been done until the market for quality coffee
from Uganda all but disappeared 30 years ago (which is a story in itself). She
told us - as have other older farmers - that she had been waiting for a project
like this to come back.
Through the season it has been our older farmers who
have been our most brilliant supporters and advocates, consistently delivering
top-quality coffee. We've taken this to heart and have reflect ed that we're not
doing anything new here - we're simply 'waking up' ( Zukuka! ) what has been a
sleeping industry for quality coffee. It's exciting and humbling to be playing
a small part - in a hopefully much bigger story to come - of better Ugandan
coffee and therefore better outcomes for hard-working farmers here on Mt Elgon.
Dave Bishop has worked for various aid and community development agencies in Uganda
on and off for almost a decade.
He lives in Mbale, Uganda with his wife Anna
and their children.
He was handed the task of overseeing the 'Zukuka Bora / The
Cup That Counts' initiative on the ground on Mt Elgon.
Much of the success and
impact Zukuka Bora Coffee Company is having is due to the guidance and
leadership of Dave and his team.