The birds chirped a little louder this morning, as we all naturally woke up before Paul walked in with his typical “Wake up! It is a beautiful day!..” The next thing we knew we all loaded up on the bus for a long ride to the remote cooperative, El Porvenir. It is an organic coffee co-op on the side of a remote mountain. Once owned by a very wealthy landowner during the Somoza reign, the land was passed down to his workers who formed a co-op still in operation about 40 years later. The road up to El Porvenir was scattered with beautiful lush green farm land in contrast to the scaling sharp mountains. We then arrive to a small house in which we all squeezed into a trailer attached a tractor. Scaling the mountain on the trailer lasted a little more than 40 minutes. While going up the cobble path, there were stunning lookouts of the vast Nicaraguan country side as well as various flora and fauna of the area. The enormous trees, in particular, often reached out to our group causing us to bob and weave to avoid their grasp. By the time we reached the co-op, our hands and legs were very sore so we welcomed the breath taking view and hospitality of the locals. The lunch consisted of homemade tortillas, fried eggs, and peppers bathed in vinegar. Afterwards Will and Keifer played with local children (see attached photo). We then went on a guided tour with Paul, the Irish, through the plant. We saw coffee, cacao, avocado plants and the Guanacaste tree. We went to another overlook with a volcano in the distance. With menacing thunder overhead, we decided to seek refuge in the coffee processing building where Paul explained the process of refining coffee beans in more detail. By then it was time to head back down in hopes to avoid the possible down pour that was lurking. The ride down was similar to the way up though we realized just how steep going up was. When we reached the base of the mountain, we then drove back to the dorms taking a quick break at a local gas station. For the rest of the afternoon students continued to work with thunder crashing in the background. The lighting was stunning and illuminated the entire building as it cracked the sky near by.
Overall the trip was very adventurous and insightful. It was humbling to see a community work together for the betterment of all, even if they had to venture on a tractor to get there.
-Alex S. and Clarissa H.
(Shoutout to Prof. Spiro and the Hands!)