I had an amazing time in Central America, but it is good to be back home, too. I hear I’ve managed to miss out on some serious April showers – I can’t believe there is talk of standpipes and drought warnings too!
Anyway, during my trip, I spent lots of time getting to know coffee growers, cupping some great coffee and learning tons about growing and processing coffee beans. While I was there, I also found time to visit some suppliers who received funds last year from Taylors for social, environmental or technical projects that they wanted to carry out on their farms or within their cooperatives.
At Finca Chanjul and Guadelupe in Chiapas, Mexico – who supply us with coffee for Decaffe – they had just taken delivery of four active carbon water filters. These will filter both river and rain water to provide clean drinking water for everyone on both farms, which can be up to 600 people during the harvest season. These will be installed in the next few months as part of their kitchen renovations, which will be finished in time for the next harvest later this year.
Cooperative Nuevo Sendero, who supply us with coffee for our Guatemala Cloud Forests, applied for funds needed to complete a primary school. They needed to buy windows and doors for the classrooms, put down proper concrete floors outside to make the school ready for the rainy season, and install a suspended ceiling in one of the classrooms to prevent it overheating in the summer. After they completed all of this work they even had some money left over, which they put towards building a small office for the teachers to work in. The school was looking lovely. All the classroom walls were decorated with bright and colourful displays and they had even put up decorations especially for our visit. The headmistress presented me with an award to say thank you, which is now on display in our tasting room in Harrogate. Every time I see it will bring back wonderful memories.
In Nicaragua, La Bastilla has a primary school, a secondary school and an agricultural high school for the children of families working and living on the farm as well as those of the neighbouring community of Las Colinas. They got in touch to tell us that, due to budget cuts at the Nicaraguan Ministry of Education, the salaries of their three secondary school teachers were no longer going to be funded by the government. That meant that the secondary school might have to close which would have been a huge loss to the community. So, between the two of us, Taylors and La Bastilla were able to pay the teachers’ salaries and keep the school open.
Although these are only small projects, it was really wonderful to see the difference that they make to our suppliers and their neighbouring communities, and how excited they were to show me what they had achieved and what their plans were for the future.
Out of everything I saw and did on my trip, I think these projects had to be the most rewarding, and it’s nice to know we’re bringing you coffee with a conscience. Anyway, it’s back to work for me, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Adiós amigos!