We left Xela. We made our way to Nueva Alianza, a small community of about 60 families (300 people) that are self-sustainable through various small projects that were developed over the past fifty years.
The small town has a unique history of independence. The village began as a farming sector, owned by a single person. When the owner left the village, due to the lack of profits, the bank claimed the land and the farmers were threatened to be displaced and lose their jobs. Fortunately, the town united and negotiated a deal with the bank, which gave them the deed to the land. Now the town is repaying their debt through their macadamia nut production, coffee production, and water purification projects.
When Kevin (our local guide), was explaining coffee production, he explained that they have no idea where their coffee ends up, which is inexplicably amazing to me. This also resonates exploitation, since their lack of knowledge of who they sell to is potentially inhibiting them from expanding their profits. Further, Kevin also explained that the coffee that is produced is divided into first class, second class, and third class. The first class coffee is exported, the second class is kept in the country, and the third class is usually unusable but can be sold. What amazed me of this information was that, in that case, the best coffee produced in Guatemala is the one found in the stores, not the one found in the actual country; but tourists all over the world, when traveling to foreign countries, look forward to trying, for example, in this case, the national coffee expecting to have the best because it is locally grown. However, that is not the case. Individuals expect that Guatemalan coffee in Guatemala is better than Guatemala coffee in the States (for example), but apparently that is not the case – we find better Guatemalan coffee in our local stores that in the country that it is grown! (SHOCKER!).
We ended the day by hiking a small hill and watching the sunset. Kevin showed us some ecological origami as well; that is, he showed us how to fold a leaf from a plant into a rose. Then, we all huddled around a camp fire, talked about the history of the town, and had our daily reflection time.