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Students enjoy a cross-cultural experience

Educating people of all ages about where coffee comes from is a core part of our mission. This June, we were pleased to host groups from Change Your Trajectory, Southern Oregon University, and Con Los Ojos Abiertos! They spent several days in the fields and homes of farmers, learning side-by-side. In addition to sweat-inducing labor in the coffee fields and construction sites, the groups worked their intellectual muscles asking hard questions about the international coffee trade and thinking creatively about ways they can make a difference back home. It wasn’t all hard work, they also took time to relax in Antigua, build relationships with community members, and make their own souvenirs with local artisans.

On our first ever two-week service learning trip, Civic Engagement students from SOU traveled with DLG to work with our cooperative in a rural community called Santa Anita, Quetzaltenango. The farmers in this community lost nearly all of their coffee plants to roya (coffee leaf rust). By participating in home-stays, the students had the unique opportunity to be immersed in the culture and work on their Spanish skills! This group did hard work in the fields applying fertilizer to new coffee plants, giving them a nutritious boost and thereby providing better economic stability to the community. They ended the week with a few days in the city of Xela and relaxing on the shores of lake Atitlan. Here’s a quote from one of the participants:

We got to know the heart of the community, playing “futbol” with the children and having a group dance. I was overcome by the hospitality of the farmers we worked with, as they shared their homes, food and culture with us. I learned an incredible amount of information about the current evolution of the coffee industry, and have come to the conclusion direct trade coffee gives more back to the community when farmers are able to receive a higher income and thereby give their children a chance at higher education. I feel so lucky and inspired by my visit, I would encourage everyone to take the opportunity to visit this organization for a week, two weeks, or even a few months. You will not regret it.
— Student participant

Interested in having your school university, religion or civic organization travel with De la Gente in Guatemala? We are now taking reservations for winter 2014 and spring 2015 trip at tours@dlgcoffee.org.