Saturday, November 27, 2010
Sampedrana for the first time
We have friends here who are looking to buy some investment property that could also be used for the mission...to grow coffee, plantains, beans, corn, cows, whatever. Most likely though...coffee.
So far we looked at some property in Cantaranas (tomatoes planted already there) and San Juancito...a huge tract of land where multiple crops could grow including tons of coffee.
Yesterday however as all these pictures show...we went to Sampedrana...a new Sampedrana for all of us. In fact, although we are not absolutely sure...we are fairly confident we are the first foreigners of any kind to see what we saw.
We were told of a property above where the Church is located that would be great for coffee. When we got there, our brother Escoto, who owns a huge coffee farm in that area, offered to get us close to the prospective property from his farm. I knew that meant a bit of a drive...but what a drive.
This picture on the left is as we returned...the low river we crossed. There is a project approved to build a bridge here, as when it rains, this is unpassable, and not safe for the kids going to school at pretty much any time since they have to cross on that log that spans the water. If you fall at low levels, you get wet. If you fall at high levels...you or your corpse arrive in Comayagua or somewhere near there.
The road is one that he built...his farm is the end of the line, there would be no road if not for him. As such, some parts of it, as you can see, are a bit...interesting. Some built only by a sledge hammer as part of it goes through a bit of the mountain.
Even when dry...there is some slipping and sliding. Always good for my prayer life...probably not a trip we would take just any group however. Especially if you are afraid of heights....or if you are not right with the Lord.
A new road is being made and opened on the other side of the valley where the property we are considering is located, which if we are able to farm it in the future...would be our preferred route of course.
I was less than pleased with our trajectory...until we actually got there. To see the coffee, the views, the climate...it was amazing.
(this picture on the left shows us, after descending quite a bit, looking down on the Church buildings and "downtown" of Sampedrana across the way)
At that altitude, the coffee does not need shade...in fact, shade would hurt not help...as the climate would prove too cold without the sun. We checked the altitude...over 5,600 feet ASL.
Brother Escoto has great pride and thankfulness to God for his farm and the over 60,000 plants on it. In the one panoramic shot, you can see his truck which he uses to transport all that coffee down the hill to where the bigger trucks can transport it to Comayagua for sale. In its raw form off the bushes....from that farm they harvest over 1 million pounds. What actually makes it down to Comayagua after being peeled, washed, dried and bagged is somewhere between 50-75% less than that.
In case you were wondering...farming coffee is hard work. In fact, brother Escoto’s son-in-law was there that day bringing up over 600 young plants in the truck to be planted on his property...he said he wanted his son-in-law, who is an engineer with a job in Comayagua, to be reminded of that fact. Getting those plants picked up, loaded, and transported was almost a full day job.
This is another "aerial" view...looking down on the soccer field. If you thought it was a bit crazy to think of a big soccer field in the middle of the mountains...this should confirm that.
Will we be able to use that property to such an end for the Church? God only knows. If so, it could produce in about five years over half of what brother Escoto produces, to provide employment for members of the Church, to maintain the pastor, and provide for other needs of the Church in the future.
The real question, as you see in the shirt in this awesome picture with brother Escoto's pristine and very well cared for coffe plants going most of the way up the mountain, is whether or not we should name the facilities there "Schrute Farms." I think the idea has merit...but then I am told I am a twisted individual that needs professional help, which is true but does not necessarily negate the "coolness" of that idea. Just think of a cool wooden sign above the entrance that would read "Fincas Schrute."
In addition, we got to see Lourdes’ and Gender’s new baby girl, Alison Arleth Mejia, born November 12th I believe, weighing in at over 7 pounds.
Although I was quite comfortable...you can see that Lourdes thinks it is cold up there...both for her and the baby who was only revealed so I could take this picture. I presume she went back to her near cocoon state shortly thereafter.
We also saw their new stove. They have a gas stove, but sometimes, a wood burning stove like this is cheaper and works better for certain home cooking, and will also help them cook for groups, pastor's meetings, and other events at the Church in the future as well. There is an exhaust vent so that unlike many homes here...the smoke does not stay in the building, which is always nice.
It was a quick trip....we were not able to stay long, but it was an encouraging and impactful trip.
Now...if they could just get the road to Comayagua done with their four lanes and no construction, it would almost be like Sampedrana was right next door.