A nice hike with a beautiful view. (Kassi Magruder)
Finally, it rains today. This is supposed to be the end of rainy season and it's been hot and dry for the past 12 days. And when it rains in the highlands, it really rains! We sleep in, relax and eventually decide to take a drive. We head north to Jinotega to check things out. It's really not all that fun walking around towns in the pouring rain and Jinotega is not all that charming, so we head back to Matagalpa and explore there. We poke our heads in local churches and wander the streets. Eventually, we head back to Selva Negra and meet with the owners for a tour of the coffee farm. My head swims with how much the farm does for its workers. Having lived in Guatemala for several years, I'm used to the stories my friends tell of the horrible conditions, lack of clean water, education for their children and basic services. The people that live at Selva Negra have pretty little houses that their obviously proud of, a medical clinic on site, a school, cooking facilities, and more. The coffee workers' kids have tuition paid as far as through college and they have jobs waiting for them back at the farm, some as engineers working with advanced organic farming techniques. The most impressive thing: Karen shows me their trash dump. This is the dump for the entire operation: coffee farm and ecolodge. It consists of a single 55 gallon barrel. She says they take that down to Matagalpa every month or so. Really???? They only produce 55 gallons of waste per month over such a massive operation? I love this place!
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