VANCOUVER, Wash. — Bonny James Mbuya is bringing the African coffee experience to Vancouver, Wash. while raising money to help people in his home country of Tanzania.
Mbuya was born in a Tanzanian village near Mount Kilimanjaro, but he moved to the United States at a young age. He opened Richland Hub on the corner of West 25th Avenue and Main Street in May.
He said the décor of his shop is meant to capture the culture of Tanzania, and the art and pictures on the walls are from his hometown.
"The zebra you see here — this is a photo we took along the way coming from the farm where we get these good coffee and teas, so it’s truly the representation of where the product you get to enjoy comes from," said Mbuya.
Richland Hub specializes in African coffee beans, cashews, teas and cacao sourced directly from Tanzanian farms.
He said in the rural area where he grew up, childbirth can be deadly for many women because they have to travel long distances to access the care they need.
"A lot of women die before they get to the clinic in the rural areas," he explained.
Mbuya hopes to change that one cup of coffee at a time.
He said part of every sale at his shop is going toward building a clinic back in Tanzania. It's a mission that keeps customers coming back.
"It's a good product, going to a good cause. What’s better than that?" one customer said.
"This is bigger than myself and anyone else here," said Mbuya. "Just buying coffee, you make somebody’s life better somewhere."
He said he has helped farm worker secure land for a clinic in a rural part of Tanzania. They are now working with the government and health officials there.
He said he plans to post updates of the process on Richland Hub’s website as the project gets underway.