|Cloudforest - make sense?|
|An Eco-hut that others stayed in.|
|Who are you?|
The village is very small, just a dirt road with houses scattered and hidden among the trees and hillsides. Don Max lives just a few hundred meters from his son Avilio, where the group gathers for meals and conversations. I could hear the laughter as I approached Avilio's, and upon arrival was handed a full plate of food, another great cup of coffee, and sat down on the back porch at a long table with friends new and old. We laughed at stories about our trip up the mountain yesterday, and retold jokes from last night. Then we grabbed our bags, packed them with ingredients for lunch and started down the rugged singletrack trail to Dona Cyrilas seven acre farm.
|Hector lugs the new motor|
down the trail
|Adalid from IHCAFE|
|Alex depulps coffee|
|The intake pipe for the turbine|
|The butterfly named 88 - see the 88?|
|Rebar and barbed wire keep the pipe in line|
|Getting the generator hooked to the turbine|
The truth is, most of us were just sitting around, playing chess, coloring with crayons Peggy brought and sharing stories. I got out my pictures from home and was immediately surrounded by kids who wanted to peek at what I had. I held a huge smile as I leafed through the 75 photos I brought, and went through the pile a few times, with me using what little spanish I know to interact with the kids. Eventually they functioned as flash cards - a photo of my son Ira with some ducklings became a chorus of "pato", Sy with a chicken "gallina", Olive in the snow "Nieve" and so on. I'm really glad I brought the pictures, as it made a real connection with the kids and my travel companions, and relieved some of my homesickness.
|Andy helps Alex interview Dona Cyrila|
Eventually, the men admitted defeat. We weren't going to get the motor hooked up today. So we gathered our bags, said our goodbyes, and made the trek back up to Avilio's. As we walked up the trail it was utterly clear - Coffee is HARD WORK. Not only are each of the plants cared for, but each cherry is picked by hand. Every cherry is depulped by hand. The beans are dried in small batches, turned by hand, then packed into bags. Finally, someone, ultimately Dona Cyrila's children, will have to lug those heavy precious beans up this dogged trail just to get to the road. Well, road here, 4 wheel drive trail back home.