Yesterday I bought one liter of tropical juice, something that I’d been craving for a while. The juice cost me 2700 Congolese Francs, which is exactly equal to $3.00. Now, this doesn’t seem to be that significant, as that’s about what a liter of juice would cost in America, and I knew that it was an imported product as there is nowhere in Kisangani which could manufacture juice.
Today, as I poured a glass to have with my breakfast, it clicked that for the same $3.00 I could have paid a day laborer to hack through and clear 200 square meters of jungle. This work would take him five or six hours, and would be an exhausting endeavor, but he wouldn’t even question or argue about the price. $3.00 is the standard pay for clearing 200 sq. meters.
So, for a day laborer in Kisangani to obtain that small box of juice, he would have to work in the hot, humid jungle, constantly hacking at bushes, branches, vines, and trees for six long hellacious hours.
The next time you buy a Grande Soy Latte, just try and enjoy it a bit more, because for many people in the world, that’s a damn hard day’s work.