Fourteen KSC students are much more sensitive to the coffee they drink, after their International Service Trip (IST) to Guatemala in January. “More sensitive” in that, after spending nine days working on a Fair Trade coffee farm, they’re much more aware of the labor and economics that go into that cup of Joe. As the group wrote in their last blog post at the end of the trip, “And to the farmers and artisans: your kindness, patience, and passion will not be forgotten. We will share your stories, emulate your work ethic, and remember you fondly. We will be better consumers and better people for having met you.”
The group travelled to a small village in Guatemala called San Miguel Escobar, situated at the base of Volcan de Agua, just outside Antigua. They worked with coffee farmers and artisans through an NGO called As Green as It Gets, which focuses on economic development and environmentally sustainable agriculture in Guatemala. The organization eliminates most of the middle men to ensure that the growers earn a significantly higher profit from their crop than if they sold to a local distributor. The students picked hundreds of pounds of coffee cherries, sorted and dried beans, dug a new bio-digester and a tilapia pond by hand, and helped to make textiles and cosmetics from local materials.
“In addition to hundreds of hours of volunteer service, students learned about local agriculture, sustainable farming, and the economics of coffee.” explained KSC’s Coordinator of Community Services, Jessica Gagne Cloutier. “They were immersed in the culture of Guatemala, eating nearly every lunch and dinner in the homes of the farmers they worked with. Students learned to make corn tortillas, roasted and ground coffee to drink, and engaged in endless conversation.”
Continue reading Good to the Last Drop—a Completely Fulfilling IST to Guatemala