Monday/Tuesday, January 13-14 2014
These two days were were hosted by a rural community called Nueva Alianza. We met Kevin, a man our age who has worked in and for the community since he was very young. He told some of us that he was at one point in Xela, or a neighboring city, but couldn’t fit in. Instead, he is a leader in the community fighting for the youth programs, education/ and unity between all the families. On the first day in Nueva Alianza, we took a tour of where all their programs take place. For example, they had a bio-diesel, purification of water, macadamia, and coffee projects. In addition Kevin and the 8 families that are still unified (out of ~60), choose to do everything in an organic fair-trade manner. It struck me that only 8 families choose to stay together (which I didn’t find out until the evening bonfire), and the extra costs and time that go into being organic. Like making coffee consumable takes OVER A YEAR. From growing, breeding, and the >5 steps it takes to make it in final form.
I couldn’t be more grateful for our hosts and everything they were willing to share.
Fair trade is a fad, I have noticed that. But what I haven’t realized, that every sticker of certification costs rural communities thousands. I look forward to how we can be responsible consumers of fair-trade at Grinnell and in my family. A problem that fair-trade tries to solve is the despair between money earned based on gender, children exploitation, and large amount of gain the middle man gets by exploiting rural communities (who often aren’t informed of their rights).