Today is July 21, 2015 and I’ve been home from Uganda for five days. Prior to that, almost every morning for two weeks began on the front porch of Maria’s Place (which is actually on the side), drinking Africafe Instant Coffee and getting psyched up for the day.
Africafe Instant Coffee isn’t very good. I know, because I’m an official coffee snob and proud of it. I know what to buy, where to buy it and how to make it. I know what brands to avoid, like Yuban for example, which is likely the coffee they serve in Hell, boiled to death in those giant stainless steel coffee boiling machines they always use in churches. I know where all the Starbucks, Peets, and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf locations near me are, as well as the independent places. Southern California is a pain in many respects, but we at least have our coffee act together. But I digress… Africafe Instant Coffee is seriously bad stuff.
But on this my third Uganda trip, I only brought home one souvenir to memorialize the experience… You guessed it – this can of Africafe Instant Coffee. I’m enjoying, well, having a cup right now while I write this. I didn’t buy it because the coffee was good. I bought it because having the coffee on Maria’s front/side porch, thinking about the day ahead of me, was good. Having a day in front of me that included caring for hundreds of seriously ill Ugandan people, treating children for intestinal parasites, treating malaria and HIV, straightening legs and spines, visiting dying people in the hospital, helping old people read again- all while playing the ukulele once in a while…those days were good. And the Africafe Instant Coffee was the start of a lot of days like that.
The Africafe I’m drinking right now actually seems worse than the Africafe I had each day in Uganda. Maybe I didn’t make it right, or maybe it’s knowing I have a cupboard full of better coffee options. Most likely however, the coffee isn’t the same because the day ahead of me isn’t the same as those other Africafe days. It’ll be a good day – but definitely not the same.
But once in a while, it’ll be good to drag this little can out and make a cup of this stuff, and remember the dozens of people who contributed talents and finances to get me to Uganda this year, as well as the best LOBO team ever (I’m not kidding), and the thousands of Ugandan people we were able to meet and serve.
And, thank God for Starbucks.