Too much of anything is bad, but too much good whiskey is barely enough.

Mark Twain

Raisin’ the Roof

Work is nearly complete on a new school in San Juan. Every child of the members of the La Voz cooperative goes to school. Every last one of...

The Voice That Cries in the Desert

At San Juan, we meet with the people of La Voz [La Voz Que Clama en el Desierto], a Fair Trade cooperative. Green Mountain and Heifer International have been working together with La Voz on a number of projects. GMCR’s Steve Sabol presents the people of La Voz...

Wherever you go…

You’ve climbed a mile nearly straight up on the far shore of Lake Atitlan to the village of San Juan La Laguna and you’re thinking [between gasps for breath] that you’re about as remote as you can possibly be… and you realize just how small the...

Boats? What boats?

A view from Bambu, across the lagoon from Santiago. The dock, while quite lovely, is entirely bereft of the boats we hired to take us to San Juan La Laguna. Nothing to do but watch the women doing their laundry on the shore across the...

Just Swell

Travel tip… if you’re going to take a small boat across Lake Atitlan — several times! — then do so early in the morning or late in the evening, and avoid the 4 to 6 foot xocomil wind...

Behold Atitlan

The deep blue waters of Lake Atitlan… this view is from above Panajachel [or, Gringotenango] and you can see all three volcanoes – Atitlan is almost hiding behind Toliman on the left, and San Pedro stands alone on the...

Finca de Cafe Pastores

First stop on my Guatemalan field trip [er… first stop after a detour to El Salvador, but that’s another story] is the farm and beneficio of Hans Masch at Pastores. Hans is a wonderful host, and a treasure-trove of knowledge about growing and producing...

The Cathedral

On the east side of the square is the cathedral. Its Baroque facade is a sight to behold, but beyond this pretty face it’s largely in ruins… earthquakes have taken their...

Antigua’s Plaza Mayor

After a day’s work on the farm in Pastores, it’s time for a litte R&R in Antigua. Here, the fountain at the center of the Plaza Mayor [Main Square]. Yes.. those are mermaids. Doing, er… what mermaids...

The Drying Patios

After they’ve been depulped, fermented and washed, the coffee beans [still wearing their parchment] are sun dried on patios of clay tiles. They’re raked to ensure even drying. [Note the *exceptionally* straight...

Truckloads of Cherries

It’s the height of harvest, and one truck after another backs up to the dock at the wet mill, which runs 24 hours a...

Unskilled Coffee Picker

In the same 20 minutes, this unskilled coffee picker had only 14.5 pounds in his basket. I’ll keep my day job,...

Skilled Coffee Picker

In 20 minutes this exceptionally skilled coffee picker had more than 32 pounds of coffee cherrries in her...

Ripe Coffee Cherries

A coffee tree heavy with ripe coffee cherries. Well… mostly ripe. Look closely and you’ll see a few green cherries in those red clusters. Hand picking is a...

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