I just realized I should show you this photo of a path up the mountain. Yes, what you are looking at is a path. If you fallow this path up the hill and around a shallow ravine you will pass two or three houses (one being a store) and come to the local government school. Let me interpret for you the other things you may not realize you see in this photo.
The man with the packages is basically the delivery truck for the local store. He is the home owner returning from the town with the goods he purchased in bulk. He was on road to this point, which provides an easier trek up the mountain, but it took us nearly half an hour to drive to this point from the closest town.
In the bags he is carrying are small packages of chips – junk food. While we were visiting the school one of the boys with us purchased 5 or six of those bags for less than $1US. He is probably also carrying some of the cereal we distributed and a few other items.
Notice the steep grade of the path. This patch of mountain is not unique–in fact, at the other mountain school we had to basically walk a few yards up a cliff to get to the store. This is the landscape of the mountains. Steep grades, difficult climbs and the people who live here use their bodies to move everything. So as you can probably guess, joint issues and pain are common in people as young as 20.
This is the steepness of the terrain in which you will find coffee fields – although we are not high enough on this mountain to see coffee. This is the terrain the farmers must navigate to care for and grow their coffee, pick beans and deliver it to the weigh station. It is difficult work that provides little pay. This is the terrain families use for growing food. I can still see the images of the farmers standing on the near vertical hills, picking their coffee, but I wasn’t brave enough to let go of the truck to snap photos to share.
Just something to think about as you enjoy your next cup of coffee.