“The fight is never about grapes or lettuce. It is always about people.” – Cesar Chavez

Question of the Day: How can we productively balance economic development with the protection of our environment and human rights?

Hello everyone! Our Lideres del Dia (LDDs) are Kyle Turrell (he/they) and Alan Parra (he/him), and today we led everyone as we learned about Global Business and Working Like a Local.

After a 6am wake up call and an early breakfast, we visited the coffee plantation started by Eddy Ramirez and now run by Miguel Cerafin. It wasn’t just a walking tour, however, as we helped Miguel and his staff weeding and moving plants in the greenhouse. The experience definitely opened our eyes to the hardships of laboring in the plantation (the staff gets paid around $6 an hour). The difficult work under the sun helped us gain appreciation and respect for their daily jobs and an understanding of the culture and community behind locally grown coffee.

In the afternoon, we visited the factory of Cafe Monte Alto, which works with the Ramirez farm. At the factory, we learned about the process of preparing the coffee beans, including both electrical and traditional non-electric tools. With the knowledge of the outdoor and indoor operations of processing coffee, we were finally able to taste and buy some local coffee for ourselves (or our parents and family!).

The leadership opportunity was a learning experience and a huge privilege for us. Being a leader was both fun and hard; you really have to find the right balance between being responsible and free-spirited. It also shows how important it is as a leader to be attentive to the energy levels for the rest of your team (both physical and emotional). A good leader’s role should always be considered “tiring” when you are guiding numerous people and helping out as well – we definitely were. We also felt fulfilled and accomplished to see our group work together so well and then come together during the breaks and down time. There were so many memorable moments today, but that community moment made us incredibly proud. When we were working at the plantation, everyone was encouraging each other despite the difficult conditions and exertion, and we felt like a big family in motion.

Today was super inspiring in many ways. Our team displayed courage by stepping up to translate Spanish-to-English even when they may not have been fully confident, commitment by working 110% the whole morning and never complaining, and compassion by asking tons of questions and engaging with all of our guest speakers. The conversations this evening were another opportunity to reflect on the local and global world, and we look forward to hearing more voices and stories on this topic. We hope that we have lived up to Leo’s legacy with our curiosity about a different culture and an empathy for a different way of life. We will continue to carry on Leo’s legacy by celebrating our experiences as a group, team, and family in all the days ahead.

We want to send some Big Love Shoutouts to our parents/guardians, families (Hi Kanda!), and friends (The Science Team) back home!

Tomorrow, you will hear from our next LDD Rylyn who is leading Aid & Development Day.

Until then, goodnight!