A Country of Contrasts

Today we were back in the big green van for another “2.5 hour” (read: 5+ hour) drive on roads destroyed by landslides to the Western side of Guatemala. It’s quite a bit different from Zacapa, it feels much more like the jungle we were expecting coming into the trip.

The road into the plantation.

We are visiting a banana/coffee multicropping plantation called Finca Santa Elena, which has been family owned since 1936. The plantation consists of 74 hectares of fertile land, which reminds Chris of the Garden of Eden. We met Abel, who happens to know a lot about growing bananas in Guatemala (a first in our interviews, and much appreciated).

This plantation uses some of its banana crop to produce dehydrated bananas (which Holly thinks taste like Fig Newtons). We are investigating the market opportunity for such a project and it might be a little dicey…

Bananas in the solar dehydrater. Anton: "It's like a banana sauna..."

We’ve had two great meals courtesy of the co-owner/manager of the plantation, Rene, and are getting as much information from Emilio as possible before we leave. Today we got his perspective on the violence in the region, and we were inspired by his commitment to the co-op’s future.

Tomorrow it’s back to Guatemala City for our final meeting before we present to CRS on Thursday!

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