“This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many” – Barack Obama
Bonjour from your fellow Canadian signing in after the last day of Hell Week! I’m super glad and extremely excited to say we finally finished this week of constant hard work, sweat and persistence from every single one of the Good Neighbors. Today consisted of coffee, coffee and more coffee! For all those parents reading this, I hope your children bring you back a lovely surprise! But to go on…
This morning was full of cheerful songs and quiet knocks to bring all the lovely Good Neighbors back to life and up and around at 6:00am which frankly is not even early for anyone anymore! We ate a lovely breakfast prepared by our wonderful hostel cook and servers who made us a delicious meal of pancakes, pineapples, bananas and papayas to start off our coffee filled day!
At about 7:30 we had a Global Business Seminar led by our GN Leader Sonja, as she dug deep through our minds about the differences between fair trade, free trade, consumer responsibility, and being environmentally friendly. “Through consumer changes I can change the world” which ran through our brains for the rest of the day as we struggled to get to our first activity which was delayed by some minutes due to issues with the owner.
We finally got on our way to “Finca El Paraiso” Which was the coffee farm we visited first owned by Don Alex and Managed by Marvin Alvarez. We had a few bumps along the road before we got there, with our bus not being able to go forward due to the conditions of the road, we made the best of it by sticking our head out of windows and taking a bunch of photos which made our heads look photo shopped to the bus, laughter filled the air as our amazing bus driver made it over the dip in the road that delayed us 15 minutes.
We finally arrived to thousands of coffee plants everywhere and a beautiful house in the middle of it, we were greeted by a cute puppy and Mr. Alvarez who introduced us to the owner of the farm Mr. Alex and his wife, who explained to us about his farm. He told us about the difficulties and the hardships about owning a coffee farm and how he has owned it for 14 years and some years are just so difficult that they lose more money than they invest in the farm and sometimes they don’t get to pay their workers as much as they’d like but they cant help it. After that we got an opportunity to jump on the back of a truck and wiggle, wobble, jump and fall all over the back of the truck bed and see a wonderful view filled with wonderful people, what you could never forget about that moment was the laughter and the smiles of every single person.
We finally headed back down to civilization and headed back on the yellow school bus back to the Hostel, and had another delicious lunch that consisted of an Asian salad with cabbage, onions, corn, chips, and a bunch of other ingredients that made that meal a heartfelt home meal. After that we had another field trip to another aroma filled coffee dry mill where we got an opportunity to see how coffee is sorted very carefully and packaged in such an organized order that it was hard to believe that that many people worked there, then we had an life speech from the famous Francisco Javier about his life in the coffee business. He explained to us how he did not grow up like a normal child, he told us he didn’t get to play because he had to go straight to the coffee bushes to pick coffee, it was truly a vision changing and emotional speech because you could tell him talking about his childhood was very hard for him even though it felt like he was talking very calmly to us.
We also got an opportunity to taste and smell 7 different kinds of coffees and some of us (hint hint adults) got a shot of espresso. It was something you seriously don’t get to do on a daily basis; it was something you get to do once in a lifetime. We concluded our coffee day with a quick ride back to the hostel to a relaxing break which was not so relaxing because we ran to the coffee shop to get smoothies, but they where so late in making our drinks so we had to get a refund and sprint back to the hostel to make it in time for the seminar! When we got back to the hostel we realized one of the Neighbors forgot his bag at the coffee shop so we had to run back twice, on the good side we got a great workout in the Nicaraguan sun and sweat running down our backs!
We started to finish off the day by having our very first CAP (Community Action Project) Seminar as we started to discover the talents and assets each person in this group possessed, we also shared the ideas for our CAP project which consisted of improving a special needs school called “Escuela La Amistad” by either repairing walls, painting walls, buying recess equipment and adding garbage cans to the school to promote recycling and garbage collection to keep the school clean. We discussed the ideas rather deep and thoroughly, before ending the seminar to continue further tomorrow with a unity class and the word “Partner” and in Spanish “Amigos” and dismissed for dinner, which was our usual dinner that was pinto beans and rice, plantains, eggs and avocados.
We finished dinner and had some free time until we finally ended the night with our famous Nightly Meeting, I felt as if a lot of feelings from myself and the Neighbors came out tonight and it felt really good to finally let it all out with all my brothers and sisters who gave it all for me today, I completely appreciated everything that happened today and it was another amazing experience that not just me, but everyone apart of the Good Neighbors that will never forget the wonderful smell of coffee.
Anyways, to finish off the day it’s again your fellow Canadian, Angela. Signing off after Hell Week! Like a good neighbor… GG IS HERE!