31 Aug Campos & Coronas
Posted at 11:46h in Central America
|Antigua in the ominous shadow of Volcan Agua|
|OGG & Camesino Freddy standing in their days labour.|
Chelsea describes her experience with AGAIG and the community of San Miguel:
“There is an organization there called As Green As It Gets that helps to promote direct sales of coffee, instead of the regular importing or “fair trade” crap (that DOES NOT EXIST) of it. So with the organization, we learned about the mini businesses that they have set up there, like making soap or lip balm or bags from natural sources. Pretty cool stuff. The girl who makes lip balm is 16 years old and is selling around 1 million things of it. With her income from that last year, she bought concrete walls and toilets for her family. But for the most part, when we were in San Miguel Escobar, we helped out with the coffee fields. The first day we walked up a mountain (literally), and it took just under 3 hours to get to the top to dig holes to plant coffee seeds. The amount of work that they put into their jobs is tremendous and it is so interesting to think that they do it by themselves or with their immediate family. So that field was owned by a 16 year old named Julio, sooooo young. Then the next day we went to a field which was only a 20 minute hike and weeded, which here is basically digging out the coffee trees.”
“Walking what felt like 100 miles up a mountain carrying a huge shovel to a coffee plantation, then spending 2 hours digging holes for coffee trees, was probably the most physically demanding thing I have ever done. At least, that’s what I thought until the volcano ascent! This trip hasn’t just pushed me beyond my physical limits, but it has challenged my mental strength, too, as I struggle to decide what’s more important: people or profits. I’m a business student at the University of British Columbia. I thought my goal in life was to make money, but after meeting a coffee farmer who performs strenuous labor every day just to support his family, a woman who got shot because she wouldn’t forfeit her land to a mining company, and a cynical hippie who explained the follies of fair trade; I’m starting to change my mind.”
In the evening with sore hands and tired minds the whole group eagerly set out for one last night of debauchery in Disneyland before OGG’s departure the next day to Xela for a week of intensive Spanish, charlas, and treks.