Can I Just Stay Here

Great weather, warm and friendly people, and excellent food. Can I just stay and live here in Guatemala?  What could make coffee farming so difficult? Actually, a lot. While, coffee grows in some of the most beautiful and tropical places on earth, look a bit closer and you'll find many sources of stress in managing a coffee farm. Coffee farming is a delicate art that takes years to master. I've witnessed the rush to transport freshly picked coffee cherries from the fields to the processing station with only a 24-hour time limit before fermentation starts. It takes a massive supply of water to wash coffee, separate the heavy (higher quality) beans from the lighter beans, and physically move the coffee beans throughout the processing station. What follows is the hand selection of the best beans while removing defective beans throughout the final processes.

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Coffee or Jelly Beans

At Los Andes Primary and Secondary School, the children are excited to pass around roasted coffee samples. In Guatemala, coffee is consumed by youth who understand and appreciate how it grows and how it affects people's lives. For Guatemalans, this goes well beyond enjoying a routine sip. When I asked them "How many of you drink coffee?", almost 100% of the students eagerly raised their hands. The proceeds from sale of coffee and tea helps support the school. BD Imports is proud to be a part of their efforts.

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Lusik and Anne Share What They Learned

I thought my journey from Boise, Idaho to Bujumbura, Burundi was long until I had the opportunity to meet two incredible coffee farmers from Tanzania who were attending the same meeting called "CoFFEE is Cool" (an acronym for Coffee Farming Families Enterprise Engagement). The two farmers, Lusik and Anne, traveled for four days by bus to attend the meeting. There were discussions around efforts to engage more family members in their coffee business, including women and youth.

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Women in Coffee Workshop

The first International Women in Coffee (IWCA) workshop was held in Uganda in 2009. The workshop was a huge success with 30 participates attending the workshop representing twelve countries, nine of which were African countries.

We visited the Paruber Coffee Farmers group and a cooperative in Uganda that had recently undergone a gender sensitizing training program. The program was designed to help promote awareness and equitable decision making at the coffee farming household level to enhance productivity and profitability for both men and women.

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Three and a Half Days in Burundi

I spent three and a half days on the ground in Burundi with an equal amount of travel time to get there and back. Was it worth it? I think so. I recently read that if sacrifice helps a person undergo positive change, then it's worth it. I do hope that someone was inspired, encouraged, or changed. I know for certain that I was, so I believe that this journey to help empower women in coffee is worth it.  I'm thankful for a supportive family that shares this same belief!