Immediately upon flying into Mexico City, I grabbed a chicken torta with avocado, lettuce and jalepeños while I waited for my bus to take me to Cuernavaca. I welcomed the heat after all that we have been through with the cold and snow in Philly this winter. Cuernavaca is known as the city of "eternal spring" so its warm days are followed by cool evenings, reminding me of the years I spent living in the Bay Area.
I walked the city looking for a Banorte Bank where Carly and I have maintained a back account to help us continue to fund projects in Mexico. Along the way I stopped for a fresh mango with chile and visited a vibrant market to take in the colors and culture. This time we were able to raise funds through the sale of our Capomo and coffee to bring together nine women educators from 9 of the 18 Mexican states where Capomo grows in important forests. The educators, called prometoras, are here to get training from Dr. Cecilia Sanchez Garduño, the director of Brosimum Cultiva and Cultura in collaboration with Erika Vohman of the Maya Nut Institute. The prometoras are experienced in working with Capomo and Capomo-harvesting communities. They showed off their craft by making an amazing lunch in which I got the chance to get in the kitchen and lend a hand. Actually, I think I did more eating than helping.
Cecilia and Erika discussed the importance of pricing Capomo so that the prometoras and the families harvesting and processing the final product have enough money to "buy shoes for their kids." By establishing fair pricing early, Capomo communities won't have to endure the economic battle that coffee farmers have dealt with for centuries.
Sitting in on these meetings and seeing what is really needed at the ground level to give Capomo-growing communities support and to protect these important forests reminds me of what a big and urgent undertaking this must be for everyone involved. However, listening to the level of discusion and excitement among the prometoras is humbling and leaves me hopeful that they will be successful.
I also realize that Between Friends Roasting Co. has found a great group of women to get behind and support in their uphill endeavors to bring economic relief and reforestation to the communities they represent.