While living in Dar es Salaam, I had a problem sending my mother a gift. There were beautiful fabrics (kitenge) but she didn’t sew; there were loads of books, but my mother wasn’t much of a reader.
Finally, I stumbled upon tins of Tanzanian coffee grown around Arusha near Mt Kilimanjaro. The container was decorated with giraffes with a space down the bottom where I filled in the address and off it went.
Several years later, when I returned to Australia, I found the coffee tin in my mother’s cupboard and asked why she hadn’t drunk it.
“It was no good,” she explained.
When I inspected the coffee, I realized it needed a percolator and my mother wasn’t aware there was anything other than instant coffee. I brewed some to discover it was the best coffee I’d ever tasted and consequently left with the unappreciated gift in hand.