In case you missed Part 1 of our recent Honduras trip, be sure to check it out here before reading Part 2!
Our second full day in Honduras began with a really surprising breakfast… BALEADAS! At this point, what did you expect?? Those baleadas were the perfect fuel for our first adventure of the day: standing in the back of Marcial’s truck while we drove uphill for 40 minutes on our way to Finca La Unica (which roughly translates to “The Only One” Farm). And let me just say it lives up to its name!
Finca La Unica sits at 1,400 meters above sea level under Cerro Tenán, and is home to rare micro-lots. What used to be a cattle-farm is now a flourishing coffee farm covered in not only the most beautiful coffee trees, but also brilliantly colored florals and luscious greenery. We were given a tour of a portion of the farm. A lot of it is very steep, and thanks to the rains, pretty muddy and slick, so we had to really pay attention to where we were stepping!
At one point, we made it down to a river that flows through the farm. We stood by and picked lemons and oranges off the trees surrounding the river, snacking and listening to the water rush over the rocks. It had to be one of my favorite moments of the entire trip. Watching everyone’s faces as they tried the most sour lemon was incredibly entertaining. Lourdes mentioned she could feel her mouth watering without even taking a bite!
During our visit to Finca La Unica, we also toured the sleeping quarters and kitchen where the coffee pickers will live during harvest season. What Daryl and I learned from this is that normally the sleeping quarters on a farm are built from wood which can rot and hold bacteria and mold, making it really unsanitary for the pickers. At Finca La Unica, the sleeping quarters are built from metal, allowing the team to keep them clean in order to prevent sickness and promote a healthy environment. The team is also provided a kitchen with four wood fire stoves and a sink with clean, running water - something a lot of us take for granted here in the US that is a huge privilege in Honduras, especially on a coffee farm.
On the way back to Finca T, we stopped by another section of Finca La Unica where some farmers were busy planting new coffee trees. It’s a fascinating process as the placement of the trees must allow them enough room to flourish but should be close enough to touch. I really do admire the work ethic of the farmers and pickers. It’s HARD work. It makes you appreciate that cup of coffee so much more.
After another 40 minute ride back to Finca T in the back of Marcial’s truck, we headed back into the house to eat lunch. This time, we had the most incredible vegetable soup of my entire life. Don’t even get me started on the rice, oh my gosh! Truly, all the food we ate throughout this whole trip was fantastic, but this one really blew me away!
With full bellies, our next trip was just across the way to the Finca T school and clinic! What a treat to get to see this building with my own eyes. To know this school is about to be filled with children who will be able to receive an education that will offer them opportunities they otherwise would not have received means so much to me. As a person who thoroughly enjoyed her schooling, I cannot underestimate the value of a solid education. The school also has several AC units - something you will RARELY find in that area. The folks at the Matiak Foundation are truly a blessing to these kids and their families.
Once we left the school, Al and Marcial had a little surprise for me and Daryl. We had been talking about how badly we wanted to ride horses, so they had two ride-able horses saddled up and told us to hop up. After a thorough bridle tutorial, we were able to ride around for a few minutes - it made our whole trip! Now we can say we went horseback riding in Honduras on a coffee farm! What lucky gals we are!
We watched the sun set as we visited with some of the farm animals (hey, turkey!) and walked around the farm. It was nice to just leisurely take it all in for a little while. After dinner, we sat around outside and chatted - some of us practicing our Spanish (Daryl) and some of us waiting for the interpretation to come (me). We had some incredibly meaningful, deep conversations that night. We talked about how even with such a great distance between us, it’s amazing what these teams have been able to accomplish together. I can’t wait to see what we can do in the future.
The next morning, we left for the airport while the sun was still down. We waved goodbye to the farm with a renewed sense of purpose, excited to bring our knowledge and experiences home with us to the rest of the Alma crew - and to you, Reader! I hope these blogs have given you a deeper insight to what life is like on the Alma Coffee Farms. I can say with absolute certainty that I now have a greater appreciation for that cup of coffee I drink every morning. I hope you do, too.
- Ashley Elayne