On our way to Nueva Alianza, I sat with Omar, who specialize in agriculture. The kids in the village called him “Don Cafe”, because he is an expert with coffee plants. He was telling me that with the help of Grinnell, he wants to have the first ever “Modern” class with the women in Guatemala that will teach them about modern art, politic, and other stuffs. We where both discussing how modern art is misunderstood by society sometimes, because it might seem that the art might not have a purpose, but it does. When we see modern art, we should always look at it with two lens as if we where looking through a window or at a window. If we focus through the window, we see the objects and if we look at the window, we blur the objects and focus on the window only. Omar was also telling me about an musician that he knows that creates music and that he collaborates with an artist that makes cartoons and that they put both put their work together and it comes out spectacular. He was mentioning how there are test fields in the village that are used to test out the best breeding of plants that have the highest probability of survival and how they sell those plants for high money in other countries. When we got to the village we were escorted by the police, just to make sure nothing happens to us, because of how rural the village was.
When we arrive to Nueva Alianza, the girls stay in the main house while the boys were separated into two groups. I was with James and Omar in the bottom house which was supposedly closer to the main house. Our host family had Carlos, the dad, and four children Angelica, Carlos Jr, and two other names that I forgot. Carlos was mentioning to James and me that the house that they were living was remodel with brick two years ago, because of a project that the government started. The old house was of wood and it was not as warm as this current one. The house project is done with their village, but has move on to the second village that is next to their. When he was showing us his house, he told us not to touch the cute little puppies that he had, because they had flees and tick and they needed a shower. I almost did, but did not after his advice. He also had cute white bunnies with red eyes and ducks. He had a decent backyard in which he grew bananas, mango, oranges, macadamias nuts, and limes. He also had a tons of flowers some that I did not know off such as the worm flower that has layers of regular flowers. I told him if I could take some of the flower to take back to one of the colleagues that collected plants and he was fine by it.
I also told him if he can takes us to a hill to see the landscape downhill and when he took us, it was right beside his house. The downhill landscape was gorgeous, we could see the lake and the cities and the mountains with plantation and the sun hovering over the place was breath taking. He gave us a short history and explanation of how the coffee beans and macadamias grow and are used in the village. He told us that the macadamia has two layers a soft green/brown one and a hard brown shell. One of his children came with a macadamia nut already crack and it was delicious, it tasted like coco for me. Right besides us was a coffee plant and we also tasted it, but I was not aware that after sucking the juice, which was a little bit, we had to spit it out like sugar cane. The coffee bean look like small cherries, which I did not know. After he told us, I spited most of it except I had a piece stuck in my through and it pinch so hard, but with the water it help to swallow it which I did not get until I got back to the house. He explained that there used to be cow in a building that is now deserted and cover with plants, but that the cows had little food that they were not surviving. After the town realize this, they stop getting cows.
After this talk with Carlos, we meet with one of the person in Nueva Alianza that takes cares of the coffee beans plants. He was showing us where they started off with the plants and how much amount of heat and sunlight that they needed to stay well. He also told us the different types of anti-insects and anti-plague technique they used to combat harmful sickness to the plants. There a great deal of looking after the plants that we are not aware of. He showed us some of the coffee beans that were infected with a parasite and I got worried because of the one that I ate early on. While getting a tour of the plants we were also getting a tour of the village. Most of the other methods, Omar explained to me earlier on that I felt knowledge of getting the information first.
The other part of the tour was lead by Kevin. He told us how the coffee beans went to the factory. They first part was to separated the bad coffee beans from the good one, which they did by pouring water to a tank and the beans that flowed were bad and the sunken one were good. After they dry the coffee beans, they separated them in size. Next, they were crack open to get the seed out. We then move the beans to the factory where they went to another tank and fertilize. Afterward they were left outside to dry again and then they were roasted. I might have skip some steps, but I remember this ones. Overall the process takes more than 48 hours and it does not include growing and taking care of them. I got a better appreciation of coffee even though I personally do not drink coffee. Some where in the tour one of colleagues got an injury in her head, but she is fine. After the tour, Kevin, Jason, Enrique, Gabe, Amy, Cassie and I went to see the sun go down which was very beautiful. Kevin also taught us how to make roses out of a long leaf, which was similar to origami but with plants. He also knew how to make other items such as owls out of bamboo trees and others animals. Also it started to sprinkle at this time.
At night, we had a bonfire were Kevin explained the history of Nueva Alianza. Before Kevin told his story, most of the group was getting sick with illness at this point including me. He told us how the old boss did not paid the workers their money and when the worker were tired of this abused, he declared bankruptcy so that he would not have to paid them a dime. He explained how the village was ones united, but now they are separated in two, because of approaches of how to move forward the town. He also mention all the projects that the government is doing in the village such as the purify water system that they had in that house, new house, and other projects. We were also surprised at the fact that they have tractor and other big machines to work on the field, but they are not allow to used them because of some bullshit in a document even though it belong to them.
When we left to our home, Kevin made sure James and I got their safe. I did not understood why, until I saw the dogs barks at us that I understood why he was taking us. The dogs were scary at first, but not so much after that. When we got to the house, Carlos was waiting for us their. The light were off, because there was not enough water to generate light for the village. We had to used candle to see where we were in the house. I told James that I was not feeling good and that my energy level was down to the ground. I felt to afraid in the bonfire. I love looking at the sky and seeing the moon and star lighten the whole place, but as the bonfire went, I felt afraid. At one point, I thought of an alien dragging me in a beam of light that would take to their ships. When this cross my mind I felt nervous and afraid to look up and imaging that I would be that high in the skies panic me. I did not told anyone except briefly to Jonathan. Jenny and Jonathan were the best, they gave me some electro light to drink so that I can feel better. James also diagnosed what I might have wrong and told me some advice on how to get better from my fever, cough, and panic attack that I had. His advised help and I really appreciated the support that he gave me at that time.