Blind PNG coffee taster grateful for work
blind coffee taster in Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province says she is grateful to have work in a country where many people living with disabilities have no prospects.
A blind coffee taster in Papua New Guinea's Eastern Highlands province says the government is doing very little to help people living with disabilities in her region.
Conchita Basse is the head of cupping - or tasting - at Monpi Coffee, one of PNG's main coffee exporters.
Ms Basse, who is 27, lives in the provincial capital Goroka and says she has been legally blind since childhood, which made schoolwork difficult. She is now the head of cupping or tasting at Monpi Coffee, one of PNG's top exporters,
Ms Basse told Annell Husband she knows many other disabled people in Goroka without work but fortunately the company had been looking for someone like her.
CONCHITA BASSE: They relayed a message to the priest, parish priest, and the parish priest relayed a message to me. And they brought me here to work for Monpi Coffee. It was like a blessing to me.
AH: Was it? What were you doing before?
CB: Just nothing. Just finished my schooling and stayed at home doing nothing.
AH: So how long had you been at home doing nothing before you started working here?
CB: 2003 I started... Three years I stayed at home. For three years.
AH: For three years, just doing nothing.
CB: Just looking after the house with my brothers and sisters. It was surprising to me. I thought 'I'm not going to get any job', but I'm working here now so I'm very happy to have a job like this. As I've said, it was my fate. I'm a little lady of prayer. I thought 'I won't get any job'. I thought 'I'm hopeless'. Just staying at home, doing nothing, like this. But then because of God I got a job.
AH: Did it take very long to get familiar with the requirements of the job?
CB: It's not really long to me. I caught up in more than one week or two weeks.
AH: How did you learn what you had to do?
CB: My bosses taught me how to taste the coffee, the roast, or even pick up the aromas in the cups, the aromas in the coffees.
AH: And had your sense of smell, through your life up until you came to work here, had it been something very good, like it was very strong?
CB: Yes, yes, but not really.
AH: But you weren't using it as such?
AH: So what is it that you're looking for when you're doing the cupping?
CB: Looking for the good coffees, quality coffees, like Starbucks. All the coffee that we used to export, we must cup and I must get the ferment. If it's fermented then we have to reject the coffee, we have to reblend the coffee again to export it to the overseas markets.
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