Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Good Morning Friends and Family,
In Guatemala from October to December we are in Coffee harvest time. We are surrounded by a few large plantations of coffee, owned by the wealthy, and also communal land where the Quiche Indian have small parcels of land. Early in the morning field workers, men, women and children, crowd into back of pickups with their baskets, gunny sacks, and bits of food and drink for the day and head out for the coffee fields. In front of our entrance of the Mission is one area of pickup for the coffee pickers. This year most owners are paying the pickers between $4.00 to $5.00 for one hundred pounds of the red coffee bean. Most field workers would struggle to obtain the 100 pounds for the day. Little children come along to help fill the gunny sacks with the red bean. The reality is that it is the wealthy land owner that is paying, in some instances, less than $4.00 for the hundred pounds of coffee bean and the small parcel owner who pay the field workers a little more. Fortunately the schools are in recess so the children are able to accompany their parents to the field. Yes! CHILD LABOR!! but it is reality for the POOR:
I was recently at home for vacation. Yes, I did frequent the coffee shops and did enjoy an occassional cappuchino for $3.00. Now back in my own reality, I am very aware that what a coffee picker earns in one day hardly pays for a treatment of antibiotic for a sick child. The poor know they can come to our clinic for care, knowing they may not be able to pay for the medicine, but we will not turn them away. I know times are also more difficult at home. But still I am well aware of my own comforts and security, and of my family and friends. I dare to continue to ask, to beg, for help for the POOR we serve.
I do want to write more on the reality of COFFEE in a future blog. More than forty years ago our missionaries did initiate a Coffee Cooperative, in a villlage less than five miles from our mission, that continues to progress and grow today. They are FAIR TRADERS as Cooperative members. Recently the Cooperative was successful in obtaining a large grinder so they could not only process and dry the coffee bean but also grind and bag it. The placing of the coffee in bags is part of the women´s participation in the Cooperative. This year they will put labels on their coffee.
Please do send a donation to help us serve the coffee pickers and families in our CLINIC when they are ill. Remember them when you enjoy your morning coffee!!
Send your donation to:
Diocese of Helena
PO BOX 1729
Posted by Sheila at 5:02 PM