How Far Would You Go For a Great Cup of Coffee?
It didn't make much sense to us that in a country where coffee can be grown in your back yard, that the locals don't drink it. After we were stuck drinking Nescafe for several days (or going without), we were getting desperate for a good cup of coffee. Low and behold, when we visited the local farmers market one Saturday, we found some - from Zenovia, a small elderly Mayan woman who quickly asked us "you want some coffee" as we passed by her stand. Absolutely, we sure did! By the end of the week, we needed a refill. When Zenovia saw us coming, she quickly approached us and said, "you come for more coffee?". When we said yes, she said, "Tell you what - you come to my farm, I’ll show you how we make coffee, stay the night, come home on the bus”.
We met her Monday morning and drove for 45 minutes – the last 20 on a small rocky road that we could have never traveled during the wet season. Finally, we parked our car and began an hour and a half trek through the jungle. Zenovia, is probably in her 70s, was wearing flip flops, and lead the way through muck, mud, streams and breath taking beauty – Zenovia’s husband, Ignacio, was waiting for us and joined the hike the last ½ mile to their humble abode - an open hut with a thatched roof and concrete floor. The kitchen is in an extended area – a simple fire pit with all the necessary utensils and pots. As they shared their typical daily routine, we were feeling exhausted just listening. Four days a week, Zenovia gets up at 4 am to feed her chickens and get her goods ready for market – vegetables, coffee, raw cacao and even natural loofahs made from a dried fruit. Ignacio takes Zenovia in a dory (canoe) one hour down river where she catches a bus and loads all her goods to head to the marketplace--another 45 minutes away, then returns the same way after market is over. Our intent was to simply buy some coffee from this amazing sweet couple, but we knew immediately as we talked with them that we wanted to help them to do a better job of marketing their coffee. To see how Ignacio grows, harvests, and prepares the coffee, check out the video below--it was produced by the couple who met us for lunch on the Ash's farm.
Zenovia said it best – “God take care of we”.
**As an update, we have a committed buyer in Belize who will purchase all they can grow and source from neighboring growers!
"It is not the one who plants or the one who waters who is at the center of this process, but God who makes things grow"
1 Corinthians 3:7