Have you tasted our wonderful Be The Change coffee yet? If you haven’t, you will love it! It truly is a cup of hope and love as well as being the very best cup of coffee you will ever have! You may already know a little about the wonderful shade-grown Arabica coffee born in the rainforest of Nicaragua, but I thought you might also enjoy learning a little more about the actual trip taken last year to the Siles Plantation in Nicaragua, by your intrepid CFO, Dave Briskie, and his trusty partner, CLR Roaster’s President, Ernesto Aguila.
The trip began with some safety measures taken by Milan Rodriguez, the marketing director of H&H Export. She knew that hosting two Americans in a country as torn by poverty and desperation as Nicaragua would require caution and asked the pair to leave their watches, jewelry, and other flashy materials in the states. When Dave and Ernesto arrived in Managua late in the evening, they were pleased to see that Milan and Alain Hernandez were already waiting for them at the airport. Alain also asked them to wait for him for breakfast in the AM; they did not realize it was a safety directive not to leave the hotel. That realization came an hour after breakfast, when Milan led them to a convoy of 4 black SUVs, including the SUV they were to ride in for the 3 hour journey to the rainforest.
Dave couldn’t help but notice that there were four men in each of the 3 “extra” vehicles. He was told by Alain that they were all “packing heat” and would be providing the necessary protection they would need for the entire time he and Ernesto were in Nicaragua. “Protection from what?” Ernesto wondered. Alain explained that many tourists have been the victims of theft at knifepoint by criminals posing to be taxi drivers. They drive their victims to various ATMs, emptying their accounts until their bank cards would no longer work; many of these victims are killed when their cards cease working. Dave and Ernesto now looked at the convoy differently. With a deeper appreciation for the measures that had been taken to ensure their safety, Dave thought, “we will be leaving here in a few days, what must the people who live here have to go through every day?”
With a car in front and two behind them, they watched as the terrain changed from streets and businesses, to paths and trees as they made their way up the mountainous rainforest. The weather changed, allowing the heavens to open up several times along the way. Once in the rainforest itself, the rain poured down without a break and Dave watched the streams they crossed turn into swollen rivers of rushing water. When the lead SUV fish tailed crossing one such river, Dave ordered his driver to stop and said he wasn’t prepared to take that chance for his family or for Ernesto’s. In an effort to get him to change his mind, Ernesto actually got out of the car and tried to cross the river on foot, but fell into the flowing water! Dave immediately fished him out and he joked that it was a good thing he had lost weight on his Youngevity® diet!
When the group finally made it to the Siles Plantation, they were welcomed by Alain’s wife, Marisol Siles, whose family has operated the plantation for four generations. She warmly welcomed the group into their home, but Dave insisted on touring the plantation and meeting the workers before sundown. After a few hours of walking around, seeing the “cherries” and watching the processing, the thought occurred to Dave, that this would be the perfect plantation to build our charitable foundation around. Ernesto agreed, saying he has toured many coffee plantations over his esteemed career, and he declared it to be the most beautiful and the coffee beans superior to most in the world.
Once inside the Siles home, Dave requested to borrow some shirts while theirs dried from the rains, but Mr. Siles asked them keep the shirts as gift from him. In the tradition of international soccer player etiquette, Dave gave him the two CLR Roaster’s T-shirts he and Ernesto were wearing. A simple act of kindness that shows the heart of the giver, bonding two countries as each represented the goodwill of their own hearts.
With that, all thoughts of safety and peril vanished. The men not only transcended as business associates, but as friends and the trip soon became a mission full of purpose. What began as a business opportunity, evolved into a foundation to build a bridge of hope benefitting both the workers of the plantation and their families (who would then share that benefit in their own communities) and those who would benefit from the Be The Change Foundation; in addition to Youngevity® and CLR Roasters customers. To be associated with a company that walks the talk gives all of us the opportunity to do exactly that, grow our hearts as we grow our wallets.
The coffee contract is the result of this journey, and we are so proud that our Youngevity® Be The Change Coffee will be supplied by the Siles Plantation. We look forward to many years of mutually beneficial objectives as the helped transcend to the helpers.
What’s in YOUR cup of Coffee?