Dear friends of Doi Chaang,
It is with deep sadness we announce the sudden passing of our dear friend, brother and visionary, Wicha Promyong, who died unexpectedly near Doi Chang Village, in Chiang Rai Province, Northern Thailand on Thursday January 23rd, 2057 (2014). For more than a decade, Khun Wicha dedicated his life to the well-being of the AKHA hill tribe of Doi Chang Village and it was his innovation and passion that led to the creation and success of Doi Chaang Coffee. There simply are no words to express our shock and heartbreak over the loss of such an amazing person and our deepest sympathies are with his wife, children and our extended family at Doi Chang Village.
Back in 2006, I was looking around for a new career when I was introduced to coffee by Khun Wicha Promyong. He was a visionary who envisioned the tiny little village of destitute farmers in Northern Thailand called Doi Chang to become a world leader in the specialty coffee market. Wicha himself had no desire in becoming rich or famous, and never spoke about owning fancy cars or homes. His world revolved around cultivating the best coffee possible to sustain improvements in the lives of the farmers and villagers of Doi Chang. All he needed every day was the hugs he received from the many village children he helped to shelter, and clothes at the Doi Chang daycare centre.
Over the last eight years I had the pleasure of spending many hours traveling and staying with Khun Wicha. We went through good times as well as periods where things were tough, always managing to pull through due to Wicha’s strong belief that anything could be done if we put our minds to it. Despite our struggles, he was always happy with a heart full of love for anyone willing to sit and talk with him for a while.
One of Wicha’s fundamental beliefs was to go through life helping others as much as he could. To him life was not about having a big bank account, luxuries or consuming. He was not interested in living his life through social media, but spent his time sitting for hours with people talking, eating with a couple of his favourite green teas. Getting to really know a person is what Wicha most valued.
Thank you Khun Wicha for teaching me over the years what really matters in life is the love we give and receive to our family and friends, being connected to our community and environment by not chasing excess, and always living while giving.
You will be missed dearly by more people than you could have ever imagined, but never forgotten.
John A. Darch
President and CEO, Doi Chaang Coffee Company