We took a break from working at the clinic today to visit the coffee co-op that JHC works with in El Porvenir. JHC has been working with the coffee farmers for over a decade to support fair trade and assist in obtaining an organic farming certification. The Brigade left CEPS around 8:00am to start our day. The drive, which included a bus as well as a tractor, took about two hours in all. In order to get to the very top of the mountain, we all piled in the town taxi, essentially a tractor which is used by the locals. Once we arrived to the mountain top, we were greeted and fed by a small community of organic coffee farmers. They were very excited to meet us and show us around their town. One community member in particular, Tanos, was very welcoming and walked us through the coffee fields toward the peak of the mountain, which offered a breathtaking view. Everyone got to try some local produce such as cacao. Meanwhile, Steve, our Brigade doctor, visited locals and performed routine healthcare services. Some students were able to shadow him along the way. To wrap up, the locals explained the coffee production process to us. Interestingly enough, the engine that is being used to process the raw coffee beans has been up and running since 1940. In order to get back to our bus, most of us walked down the mountain and took in the natural beauty of the land.
Our evening activities were in the city of León, a western Nicaraguan city best known for its colleges, the Leon Cathedral, and exciting nightlife. After walking around for a while through the city market, we went to dinner at a restaurant where we met a former Bucknell student! Small world! It was a really exciting day filled with beautiful weather, adventure, and good friendship.
Remember to always make sure to buy our Nicaraguan coffee on Bucknell’s campus to support the families in El Porvenir!
Ryan and Paige