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Coffee Farm Workers in Guatemala

  1. DesignsbyLisa profile image55
    DesignsbyLisaposted 7 years ago

    To help become fluent in Spanish, I am planning to visit San Lucas Toliman, Guatemala in September 2011. I will be staying with the parents of some Guatemalan friends I met here in the states. Her parents are coffee field workers, which I know nothing about, but am very interested. I had been studying "Fair Trade" coffee for months, when this opportunity came up. When I was invited by their daughter to be a guest in her parents home, I joyfully accepted. I had no idea at the time that her parents were coffee field workers, the very trade I had been studying and desiring to sell though my business. I don't believe for a moment that this is a coincidence.

    I have been drinking coffee from South America for about 3 years and find it to be the best coffee I've ever tasted. I never knew coffee in the states was so terrible until I had a cup of coffee from Honduras (as well as Costa Rica, Columbia, Guatemala). Wow, what a difference! smooth, not bitter, and something that is now rapidly growing in the states as we learn about this precious commodity we've been missing out on for years! A lot of people here in the states have been growing aware of the coffee field workers that are grossly underpaid (something we never knew about) but the awareness has come when we first saw the "Fair Trade" seal and started asking questions.

    So here's my question, they are coffee workers. What does that look like? Anything you can tell me about what to expect while I'm there. I am not wealthy by any means, but in comparison, I've lived a sheltered life here in America and have no idea what it's like to get paid next to nothing for a hard days work. That makes me sad. We have an abundance here (so to speak) and I want to share that abundance with our neighbors to the south. Please help me understand, and also I welcome your advise on what I could bring as a "gift" to this family who is allowing me to stay as a guest with them. I do not want to bring something that will offend them, but bless them. If it makes a difference to answer this question, I'll let you know that they are Mayan Indians. They speak their native language as well as Spanish. They do not speak english, so we will be communicating in Spanish.  Lord help me!   I do plan on comming back to Guatemala for a year, and manage my business down there, but am making this initial trip to meet this wonderful family that has opened their home to me. I'm truly humbled.

    I'm welcoming helpful comments and any advise you can give me regarding what to pack and what to leave at home. I honestly don't know and am vulnerable to what is ahead of me. This is a new land and I want to be wise and learn as much as I can before I arrive in September. Also in this culture, what is offensive and what is a blessing. Please help me.

    1. DesignsbyLisa profile image55
      DesignsbyLisaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Please will someone help me?  This is my post and it's disappointing that nobody has responded in 2 weeks.

      1. CJ Andrews profile image89
        CJ Andrewsposted 6 years agoin reply to this

        Talk to your friend and see what essentials they need.  If they are as hard-up as you say, they probably have a lot of needs.  But the best person will be someone who knows them and/or the situation they are in.

        1. DesignsbyLisa profile image55
          DesignsbyLisaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

          Thanks CJ....I wanted it to be a surprise, but I suppose your right.  They don't speak English, but that's ok....helps me practice my Spanish.  I was actually going to bring a pair of work boots for the father.  Hopefully nobody steals them off his feet.

  2. Cagsil profile image59
    Cagsilposted 6 years ago

    I have posted maybe a good 500 hundred times to the forums in the past couple of weeks and never saw this thread. However, even if I did see this thread, I wouldn't have much advice to give.

    So, just to let you know, I have no knowledge about Coffee workers in the location you are going. I also have no knowledge of said family you will be staying with, even with your detailed description. I would ask your friend who invited you, what to get, considering that person might have more insight into a gift.

    Secondly, if you're planning on running a business down there and shipping to the marketplace in America, then I would suggest you get very familiar with the Laws of Coffee shipments into America and the entire process. If you are not planning on utilizing America's marketplace, then I would suggest looking into the Laws down there. Other than that, I have nothing else to offer.

    Good luck. wink

    1. DesignsbyLisa profile image55
      DesignsbyLisaposted 6 years agoin reply to this

      Thank you Cagsil, I must have posted it in the wrong spot.  The business I plan on running down there is several years from now.  This is my initial visit to do exactly what you are requesting.  Before I can learn anything, I have to get to know the people and build a relationship.....and get better at Spanish.....my other reason, Spanish immersion. 
      Gracias por tu ayuda, bendiciones! (Thank you for your help, blessings!)