Our day began with fried plantains, fruit, tortillas, coffee, and juevos revueltas con pimiento (scrambled eggs with peppers). We loaded into our trucks for a bumpy and beautiful ride into the mountains. Dodging tree branches as our driver expertly maneuvered around pedestrians, cows, horses, and dogs. We anticipated our destination as our sit bones (ischial tuberosities) cried out. We arrived at El Rescate and were greeted warmly by the presidente of the Directiva, the consulta (legal work), and tesorero (treasurer). The Directiva is similar to an elected community government.
The presidente showed us how coffee is made. Currently, El Rescate is part of the Comus coop. The presidente explained the dream of the community to process the coffee from plant to sales. They purchased a machine to separate the coffee beans from the pulp inside the pod. The community’s next step is to charge five cents per pound to a family for use of the machine. This will help save for the next step of their dream. The community gave us a tour to show us where organic fertilizer was made and stored. They make the organic fertilizer using discarded coffee pods. They have set up solar panels donated by a Presbyterian church in Atlantic, Iowa. Two men in the community are trained to maintain and trouble shoot the solar panels. They told us that when the lights come on at night, they thank God. Before this system, they had only candles. Now the children can do homework at night. The solar panels were life changing.
We listened to their stories, how life is for the sixty-five community members. Wendy, a mother of four, wakes up at 0400 to start breakfast for her family. She walks two of her children to school in Berlin, two hours away. The other mothers in the community take turns with this trek. So many examples of the people caring for each other touched our hearts. When a family can’t afford water for a sick child or a doctor visit, other members of the community sell a chicken or leave the farm to work and earn extra money.
The community created a delicious lunch for us. The women lovingly served us a soup of vegetables, chicken, beet salad, rolls, and tortillas. We felt so fortunate to drink a cup of the organic and delicious coffee produced by Comus coop. We walked to the home of a community member before setting up the clinic. He told us his home was humble, but it was what God has given him and they are blessed.
It was so evident spending time with this community that they functioned selflessly, each person putting the benefit of the whole ahead of the individual self. We thank the community of El Rescate for welcoming us, making it possible for us to come serve the population & showing us their progressive thinking, ingenuity, and love for God.
- Blessings, Amanda :)
Note: Due to WiFi connection issues, this post was uploaded a day late.