Jacinta, 62, is one of the amazing women we work with in La Suiza. She is currently raising her family alone because her husband works in Mexico due to the lack of opportunities in Guatemala. For those of us from the US, the idea of going to Mexico because there are more jobs sounds crazy, but it is a fact for many Guatemalans. To supplement her household income, she has opened a small tienda (store) selling items such as snacks and drinks. It is called Tienda Loma Bonita meaning Beautiful Hill. Jacinta has 5 children still at home, along with 6 grandchildren. Her house has 2 rooms - one where all of the family sleep and the kitchen.
Jacinta is a part of the 116-member cooperative in La Suiza. De la Gente has worked sporadically with La Suiza over the years on a project-by-project basis, but had not been involved with any coffee training, production or exportation. This year the cooperative asked for more assistance, and we are now working with them in a much larger capacity.
Jacinta owns 26 cuerdas (approximately 4.5 acres) of land on which she grows coffee. Last year, she sold her coffee to middlemen, known as coyotes, who visit the village during harvest season. She sold her coffee for 500 Quetzales per quintal, which equates to about 80 cents per pound of green (unroasted) coffee. This isn't an uncommon story for small-holder farmers, and it's one of the key reasons that De la Gente works with these types of cooperatives and communities. There are a lot of factors that will play into the equation next year when we distribute coffee from La Suiza, but Jacinta should be able to receive 200-300% more for her coffee than she has in the past. Imagine the difference this will make for her and her family!