Question of the day- How is business in the USA and Nicaragua interlinked and how can you as a consumer in the USA influence business in Nicaragua?
The topic of today was Global Business, and we definitely had a busy day! After breakfast, we had an informational seminar by Ben and John about Fair Trade international and Fair trade USA. Fair trade USA is basically another branch of fair trade international, where the goal is to “reach and benefit more people.” However, farmers claim that this system lowers the standards of the product and allows the fair trade label to be present on low quality items. Fair Trade International only works with co-op businesses where fair wages, and working conditions have to be present. The goal of international fair trade is to distribute the profit more evenly with the farmers and workers.
After the seminar, we took a bus trip to Castillo de cacao (Chocolate castle) where we got a tour of the whole chocolate process! It is a very small factory that has been operating for about 8 years. It was built to generate more jobs in Nicaragua and also to make good, organic, healthy chocolate! There are only 3 woman that work at the factory and they produce about 15,000 chocolate bars a month. We got to witness the process and it is a very time consuming process. The chocolate is made with organic cacao and sugar only. The Castillo buys cacao beans from local Nicaraguan farmers, the woman then roast he cacao beans with a roasting machine. After the cacao beans are roasted, they hand grind the beans to separate the actual cocoa from the shell. This process alone takes about 3 days. Once the shell and cocoa beans are ground, it is put into a machine that separates the cocoa from the shell. Once they have pure cacao, they grind the cacao with sugar to create chocolate paste. With the paste, they then melt all the chocolate, scoop It into molds and then cool it! The last two steps, take about 12 days to produce about 7,000 chocolate bars. After the fascinating tour, we went into the chocolate store and were able to buy delicious chocolate!
After lunch, we went on another field trip to Benificio SolCafe, which is a place that local farmers sell their coffee beans to, to be dried, roasted and then distributed throughout the world. We had a tour given by a man named Uriel, he showed us the whole process from drying the coffee beans, to getting the finished product and even tasting it! Uriel taught us how to be cuppers (professional coffee tasters). He taught us what scents to look for when tasting coffee and also the different smells and tastes. It was fascinating to see all the different countries and companies that the export to. Such as, Starbucks, Pete’s Coffee and many European countries. Benificio SolCafe also practices fair trade, so it Is comforting to know that the farmers and employees are earning fair wages for growing these coffee beans. At the end of the tour, we where allowed to purchase coffee to take back home to share with our families!
We then went back to the hostel and ate dinner, after dinner we walked to El Progresso to teach our English classes! Which we do Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for two hours! Lights out a 10:00 pm.
Shout out to: My mommy, dad and siisypoos! I miss yooh guys <3