Bienvenido a mi casa mi amigo.
This greeting we’ve heard many times during our stay last week at the Finca Fuente Vieja. You remember? That’s the name of our current project: Your own coffee-plantation. If you’re not yet familiar with this project, you can obtain a brief overview with these articles: Your own coffee-plantation, coffee-plantation and dive deeper by visiting our plantation’s website at http://coffee-plantation.eu.
I intended to begin this article with that warm greeting because it perfectly describes the spirit this project seeds. We were welcomed by our interlocutors as friends, which we intentionally want to be, or better said, to become. Also we were invited into their homes, not as an act of courtesy but as a sign of sincerely meant friendship.
For me this spirit is hard to describe and may be much harder for you to comprehend but give me a try and let me explain our purpose and the desired result of our visit.
Since I began to craft this project I always intended to combine my passion for coffee, my love for the Dominican Republic and my available, limited resources to help to turn the world into a better place. This means it is a combination of business, fun and helpfulness, never disregarding my conviction that effective help only works if:
- you execute it economically
- you have fun with it
- your help is desired by the beneficiaries
To fulfill the first requirement the only choice was to create a coffee-related project because that’s my business, my passion and a thing I’m really a high end professional at.
The second requirement is met by the island itself- I know the Dominican Republik for more than 25 years and have never been disappointed while staying there. The climate is perfect, the landscape and the Caribbean sea are amazing and the people are diligent, friendly and honest. Every time I go there I’m full of joy and fun, wonderful.
The third part contained some uncertainties and risks. As mentioned before the people, living in the Dominican Republic are diligent and they are also proud. They are not asking for help rather they would prefer to share their home and their food with you. One now might ask "why then do you want to help them and not others?". There is a simple answer: "They need help but a way of help which enables them to improve themselves in order to establish an environment which helps them and their children having a perspective and a reliable future." This means the desire exists but the way of coming together was not the easiest one.
The key was mutual respect. We are not the descendants of conquerors and we are not those which know everything better, simply expressed we are those who just had luck to have been born in a more convenient environment and therefore being convinced to have a responsibility for people with less luck.
At our first encounters with the people working spare time at the coffee plantation and the people living in the near neighborhood we where very aware about what we said in order not to leave with a negative impression, these were situations we were not used to. You can compare it with a first date, you try everything not to make a mistake. From time to time we became more experienced and relaxed and also our interlocutors. They’ve recognized that we are reliable and intend to help in a smart way, they understood our mission, our intention and our goals. With this the door was opened.
During our last trip we met with the principal of the local school which is nearby the plantation. We brought some useful stuff from Germany like colors, brushes and books for painting, pencils, stuff for tinkering and books. The meeting with the principal was important for us because he is the key for installing the help for the children. The help mainly consists by improving the educational facilities and possibilities. We target the children’s welfare first because for them it is essential to obtain best possible education which is the prerequisite to find a valuable profession and by this to step in a prosperous future. To read more about this topic visit our cooperation-partner's website at www.aktion-kinderplaene.de.
The more often we talked to different people about our intentions, the more people became aware of them. We recognized that they started to become interested in us as persons, the stage of mutual respect was reached.
A further example are the plantation workers and the intermediate custodian which started to trust our project and us, they felt that we didn’t come to buy a plantation and greed for quick and dirty profit. Much more they felt proud that we honestly admitted that we also want to learn from them because they are the experienced guys being able to run a plantation. The other way round they were very interested in those things which happen to the coffee beans they are harvesting, that’s the part we are experienced in.
We've tied friendships, compounded with trust, mutual respect and a very good feeling on both sides.
Since I'm fascinated by the Dominican Republic I took a lot of pictures. Enjoy them below this post. If you are interested in participating in our project or become a supporter, just drop me a line to firstname.lastname@example.org