Cameroon Pt. 1: Meet Bobe Ngam
We are so excited to finally get to share more of our stories from Cameroon with you! We had a wonderful week visiting lots of farms and meeting lots of wonderful people, and we cannot wait to introduce them all to you. There are so many that we loved getting to know, but for today, we want you to get to know more about our precious friend Bobe Ngam.
In Cameroon, it is very common for people to go by titles... “Mama, Pa, etc...” Basically no one calls their superior by their first name, it would be considered disrespectful. Gervais spent the entire week being called “Daddy” by some people. Kind of like we would say “Mr. Hollowell,” only in Cameroon, they are perfectly happy to shorten that to Mr., and typically everyone know’s who they are talking about. Enter Bobe. We went the whole week (and an enormous amount of time leading up to our trip) thinking his name was actually Bobe. Nope, it’s Joshua. But we don’t know a soul who calls him that. And he was the only Bobe we met too. Definitely unique. Perfectly Bobe.
Bobe is so vivacious and smiles all the time. He has been growing coffee his whole life, and when many coffee farmers chose to abandon their farms for other products, Bobe committed to continuing to grow great Cameroon Boyo coffee! When Mama Foncha (we can’t wait to tell you about her in our next blog) started growing coffee and wanted to help other farmers realize the potential of growing great coffee in their region, she called up Bobe, and Hilltop Farms was born.
Hilltop Farms is a collective of farmers who grow their own coffee while also encouraging, helping and teaching other farmers around them how to grow quality coffee that they can sell all over the world, to support their families. Bobe was the first ever contributor to Hilltop Farms, and Bobe’s farm is at the center of it all, where many farmers bring their coffee to process, and to learn more about positive business practices. Hilltop Farms exports coffee all over the world through the organization Cameroon Boyo Coffee, run by Matti Foncha (Mama’s son).
Now, Bobe and the members of Hilltop farms, led by Bobe's son Earnest, travel around the Boyo region teaching other farmers how to make the most out of their coffee production. They help farmers understand better business practices, discover how to grow the best possible crop, and learn ways they can make more money by farming other plants and/or animals that work well with coffee. Hilltop Farms focuses on helping other farmers recognize that the best way to earn a better profit without charging arbitrarily high prices is by producing the best quality coffee they can, pursuing what CBC likes to call “More Than Fair” business practices. Bobe is very proud of the coffee he grows, and we absolutely agree that he should be!
Bobe was such a hoot! From the second we met him, he had a huge smile on his face and was so eager to learn about us, about coffee from all over the world, and to teach us more about Cameroon Boyo Coffee. We loved our visit with him, showing him pictures of other farms, sharing a toast to new friendships and just chatting and laughing together. His smile is most certainly contagious! The first moment he met us, he insisted on giving us a “High Five for America!” But we think it should go the other way... High Five for Bobe, Cameroon, and really great coffee!
We are THRILLED to let you know that not only do we have plenty more of the great Cameroon Boyo Coffee that you are used to in stock, we also just got in a special Microlot from Bobe’s farm. We cannot wait to start roasting it soon... stay tuned!Coffee Adventures