This article was submitted to GNN by one of our readers.
Tiesta Tea’s co-founders and marketing director just got back from installing a water well for our company’s hibiscus farmers in Nigeria.
Words can hardly describe the feeling of seeing thousands of villagers so genuinely happy to receive one of life’s basic necessities: water. Giving back directly to that community made a life-changing impact, not only for our farmers, but on our entire company.
To summarize our experience, we defied the US travel recommendations and traveled to northern Nigeria (Kano and Jigawa states), an area known for unrest and harsh conditions. With the Boko Haram activity in the region, we knew this would be a risky journey.
Our visas were denied through the typical US process. Driven by our determination to give back, however, we had to work with the Nigerian government directly to receive a visa upon arrival.
As a loose leaf tea company, we get all of our hibiscus from farmers in Jigawa, Nigeria, who produce the best hibiscus in the world. Nigeria is one of the few countries that can produce hibiscus because of the hot, dry climate required to grow it.
Learning that women and children spend up to 5 hours every day walking 2-3km to collect water to use for cooking, cleaning, and drinking, we recognized the opportunity to give back to our hibiscus farmers.
We traveled 20 hours to one of those villages and built a water well to give everyone in the community access to healthy, clean water with the turn of a faucet.
Many times we are asked if we are certified Fair Trade, but instead of going through the long, expensive process, we wanted to spend that time and money on giving back directly; something we believe makes a bigger impact.
The Living Well Project is just one part of our Loose Change campaign to make a difference with our tea – because we believe that when small businesses give back directly to the people who supply their products, we can all change the world.