When does a road turn into a pile of rocks?

75% of roads in Guatemala are not quite roads.

Today was our last bumpy ride in the big green van. We’ll miss the van (and our heroic driver), but not the bumps…

Now we are preparing for our presentation to CRS tomorrow morning.

On the home stretch!

As is often the case, we discovered our real project (hidden inside our initial assignment) just 24 hrs. ago, so wish us luck!

Tomorrow night we will be celebrating so thank you for following us on this adventure – Adios Amigos!

Guat’s up?

Amigos,

Four things we learned today from our first trek into the mountains of Guatemala to visit the campesinos (coffee and banana farmers):

  1. The reality on the ground is never what we expect.
  2. Everyone makes value judgements differently.
  3. Humility and pride bring hope.
  4. Don’t try to go four-wheeling in a two-wheeler 12 passenger van up a muddy mountainside in “where the heck are we” Guatemala.

Please enjoy the photo of us eating again. 

Fried chicken and coke on the side of the road - yes please.

 

Welcome Viva; Off to Zacapa!

Highlights for a Sunday on the Front Lines in Guatemala:

  • Mass at a local church
  • Hola Viva!!!
  • Ana Emilia, our translator, is helping us further understand Guatemalan culture, and more importantly – order food from menus we can’t read.
  • Four hour bumpy, curvy, hot road trip into the eastern part of the country – excellent team bonding time!!
  • Holly is trying to eat platanos at every meal – so far – check plus.
  • Anton was thrilled to see the pool at our new hotel – planning a late night swim as we write.
  • Jia is doing his laundry in the sink, with bath soap – enough said.
  • Dave is on a strictly no sun-screen policy – red nose – check plus.
  • Kathleen has been trying to read for the law classes she is missing this week – not easy with such entertaining teammates!
  • Eddie likes the platanos and black beans, but NOT together.
  • Karla is happy that we now have another spanish speaker (an “official” translator).
  • Chris is doing an amazing job of putting up with us!

(Sorry, picture uploader thingy is not working. Imagine a delectable dish of fried plantain here.)

Today we had great time with our CRS partners during the drive to Zacapa and we are gearing up for a week full of interviews.  Over dinner we divided into three focus teams built around our hypothesis.  Eddie, Anton, and Ana Emilia will be concentrating on cultivation.  Karla, Kathleen, and Jia will be looking at the co-op organization and relationships with external partners.  Dave, Holly, and Chris will be doing a market study and assessing options for processing.  Hasta Manana!