Day 6: Reflection by Kelsi Madrid

Today was a very powerful and emotional day for me. We went to the coffee plantation and got to see how everything is made. We also got to hear the stories of the workers and the plantation’s background. Listening to the stories is when I realized how much the war has affected everyone in El Salvador. Yesterday was mostly about Oscar Romero and the fact that he impacted so many people’s lives didn’t really settle in until today. This coffee plantation has been through so much and the people have stuck with it. During the war most of the leaders at the plantation were killed and now the sons and one of the wives are keeping their legacy alive and hope to keep the legacy going for many more generations. Hearing the struggles that these people went through to keep this plantation going really touches my heart and inspires me. They genuinely care about making the community better. They have all organic coffee and are trying to make many more things to improve the community.

The place we went to today is one of the farms that belongs to the cooperative and it was breathtaking. This place was so beautiful and peaceful I just wanted to put up a hammock and lay there forever. I ate a banana off of its vine which was also really cool, but the coolest part was that we got to plant a coffee tree. Along the way we met a man who was digging holes and I found out that he did that for a living. He would dig 30-100 holes a day depending on the season and get paid $6 for the day. At that moment my heart started to hurt for these people. They work so hard and receive so little. This man’s shoes were barely held together by staples and they looked like dress shoes. It is about a 20 minute hike just to get to where the holes are to be dug. I had a hard time in my shoes that had little traction; I cannot even imagine doing that hike every day and digging 100 holes in those shoes with no water. I wish so badly that I could help these people and give them the life they deserve. It pains me to see people struggle for something they care so much about but I have so much respect and admiration for them that they will stay in my thoughts forever.

I couldn’t help in extreme ways, but I could help by buying their product so I bought 5 bags of coffee. I don’t even drink coffee. Hopefully the purchases from today will help a little bit. Today was an incredible day that I will never forget and I am so thankful that Anna Stout took us to the plantation. So thanks, Anna, and thanks to the people who made this trip possible for me.

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