Back in 2006, Pete and I travelled down to Antigua Guatemala in search of securing a reliable source of what many believe to be the finest coffee in the world. Armed with the name and number of a close friends brother, Ricardo Zelaya we set off. Now I would be remiss if I didn’t say we love road trips and were excited about getting away from our daily routines and heading off to an exotic location.
After a week of touring the regions finest farms and securing our first shipment of green coffee, we visited one of the most remote farms in that region Finca Carrizal. This was one of Ricardo’s grandfathers first plantations, we were amazed at the remoteness and the time it took to get there – an 8 hour rugged 4×4 drive. Up to 300 people live on this farm with numbers swelling to 1500 during picking season. This is when we really noticed the lack of facilities, most of all a school. Right then and there with the help of Ricardo, we committed to paying for, and maintaining a school. True to Ricardo’s word, the school was finished in 2008 and we were lucky enough to travel down again and be present for the grand opening. The school holds 90 full time students ranging from kindergarten to grade 7; teaching the children the basics, reading, writing and arithmetic, with classes for adults during the evening. There are four washrooms and a small kitchen where lunch is prepared and served daily. The school year runs from January 15th to October 15th, and shuts down for holidays which coincide with the picking season.
- Barney McKenzie