The four years that I have been a barista in Atlanta, I have been saving my money for the day that I would finish my associate’s degree and be free to go travel. Well the day finally came that the last final had been taken, the last paper turned in, and I was a free agent for whatever adventure swept me away first. As an avid coffee addict and a travel bug, I had been looking into the coffee production countries for some time andBrazilhad begun to pop up on my radar more and more. When I made the final decision to travel toBrazil, I began talking with many people to see if it would be possible to volunteer on a coffee farm somewhere or at least go visit one. Through a series of fortunate events and people who know people, I was able to get into contact with the Casa Brasil staff and arrange for my stay with a family who has a coffee farm.
Not only does this family have a coffee farm, but Paulihno (the father) works with a co-op called Coorpol, which is highly involved in the coffee community in the city of Sacramento. Coorpol attempts to unite the local farmers with the goal of producing superior coffee by hosting seminars and teaching the farmers about the importance of growing the plants organically and not using chemicals that could be harmful to the environment. It is part of the Fair Trade organization and they aim to promote the local farmers and to produce quality coffee via micro lot productions. It is a wonderful program and the people whom I have been able to get to know during my stay here have a passion for producing superior coffee and for helping the farmers in their community. They go out almost every day to visit farmers, help them get organized and insure the quality of their products. It has been a treat to tag along and meet the farmers who are responsible for growing this coffee.
I have never done volunteer work, never traveled alone, never been out of the country before this experience, but I am certain that this will not be my last time to try such a venture. I have nothing but praise to sing about everything here; the people, the vistas, the food, and the coffee are all more than worth the trip to get to this town where no one speaks English.