Faith & Coffee | October 29th
"Maybe this year it will be better, maybe this year it will be better," were the consistent words of Mr. Haroldo Altamirano as he referred to his 32 years of working in the coffee industry since 1991. He explained, "There's uncertainty in the coffee business because one year can be profitable, while the next five years may not go well. That's just how this business is." However, being able to initiate a direct export venture has been a significant blessing. He emphasized, "We no longer have the pressure to sell at the NY Stock Price, and these benefits are transferred to the community."
To comprehend this comment better, it's essential to note that in the Nicaraguan coffee market, the NY Stock Exchange significantly influences the prices at which farmers sell their coffee daily. This creates tension because farmers require sufficient liquid assets to proceed with their harvest and production.
Photograph of Haroldo Altamirano, he is the Lorena's Father, who is part of our family of farmers in Nicaragua.
This week, we visited the coffee cooperative we initiated in the small town of Carmen, named "The Good Shepherd." It's located about two and a half hours by vehicle from Matagalpa, Nicaragua. The journey takes you through dense jungle and mountains, eventually leading to this tiny village of about 20 houses. Carmen is surrounded by vast coffee plantations, not only producing some of the finest coffee but also embodying the mission of Guadalupe Roastery.
To give you some perspective, basic services such as a pharmacy, supermarket, and medical facilities are a two-hour drive away. The community faces challenges with limited access to communication networks, the internet, electricity, and clean drinking water. People here cherish every supplementary element in their diet with great joy. It's truly a place where Guadalupe Roastery has made a significant impact on the community, channeling coffee profits into initiatives like the school where the local children receive their education.
The Coffee Cooperative, The Good Shepherd, in El Carmen, Matagalpa.
"...working in coffee is tough. People who enjoy a cup of coffee sometimes can't even imagine everything we have to go through to produce it... it's hard work," he expressed.
"True," I replied, "but the expression on his face tells the story". Our Lady individually recognizes the efforts of everyone here, and she has been drawing people who not only appreciate her coffee but also respect the work and history behind it. El Carmen, a name chosen to honor the dedication of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who appeared on Mount 'Carmel.' Both places share similarities, as the natural reserve in which Carmen is nestled consists of a massif of white rocks, hence its name, 'Peñas Blancas Natural Reserve.'
Through the Coffee Cooperative established in El Carmen and the Good Coffee Cooperative in the United States, we aim to expand the impact that Guadalupe Roastery has on El Carmen. The community of El Carmen is very appreciative of the extra income Guadalupe Roastery put there. The locals extra earnings have contributed to food, schools, solar panels, notebooks, and improved access to education. It has also help draw the attention of the local diocese so they could send a priest to help bring the sacraments.
To see and personally know the faces of the people in Carmen, to eat what they eat, speak their language, play their games, comprehend their perspectives, and walk their paths, that is what our Lady has been doing with them, and it's what we are striving to emulate.
We aim to be an extension of the Virgin's helping hands to the farmers who, with love and virtuous dedication, tend to these coffee plantations so that you can enjoy your morning coffee. When I first visited this place, I had a sense that God had chosen this small spot in Nicaragua to demonstrate that step by step, and individually, a change could be achieved. This transformation would affect every aspect of life, including faith, economics, social development, and the cultivation of virtues through unwavering dedication to their work.
In the photographs, you can gradually see everything from the detail of a plantation, to a general shot of the extension of the territory cultivated in coffee, a jungle in complete harmony with the crop and the people who live there. El Carmen is like a little paradise on earth.
We can only express our deep gratitude to our Family of Farmers and promoters of the My Good Shepherd cooperative for all their work, we really value and appreciate the love with which our Nicaraguan coffee is grown and harvested, that we do not forget the tender gaze of the Virgin on the Coffee, on her hands and actions. Thanks to you for buying Nicaraguan coffee.