Every now and again we like to do a little road trip for “vacation.” Usually we end up doing more driving than relaxing, but it’s always fun to see a new part of Honduras.
At the end of Group #2 from Indiana we hit the road with Nick and Hilary (good friends that are here helping us out for 6 months). We decided to go visit the coffee plantation that we bought coffee from for our upcoming coffee fundraiser. We drove south west to Siguatepeque (see-gua-tay-pay-kay) first, which is 7 hours from our house, and spent the night there. The next day we drove 3 hours into the mountains to the town of Santiago, spent the night, got the full tour of the town and coffee plantation, turned around and went 3 hours back to Siguatepeque. Then it was just 7 more hours home the last day. (See, I wasn’t joking about driving more than relaxing. We even had plans to go somewhere else on the trip, but thankfully decided not to.)
Here is a picture of us in the hills over Santiago, with our host Fidel (left to right) who let us stay in his house, Nick, Jason & myself (Sarah), and Igor, the coffee seller, with his little daughter Marisella. They were fantastic hosts and it was a real pleasure to get to know them and see their town Santiago, which they assured us is the best town in the world.
The area of Santiago, La Paz is totally different than where we live in the tropical north. There the mountains are drier and covered in pine trees (yet there are still lots of bananas and pineapples). The houses are made of white-washed, mud bricks, with traditional tile roofs. It’s very picturesque. Here we are on the coffee plantation. This is one of the specialized coffee growing regions of Honduras, which produces a Starbucks quality brew. The high altitude and the fact that it’s shade-grown are some of the factors that make it such great coffee. Everyone who has sampled the coffee so far comes back for more (too bad I’m not a coffee drinker).
Coffee grows on these very tall bushes, underneath bananas, and other taller trees. When we visited the coffee cherries were still green. They’ll turn bright red before they’re harvested. Each of those cherries contains two coffee beans. Before drinking the coffee has to be shelled, dried, husked, roasted, ground, and finally brewed.
It was a great trip. We also collected plants as went along. We bought 100 coffee starts in Santiago and then our hosts gave us some starts for red bananas. On the way home we stopped at a place called FHIA, which is Honduran agricultural center. We bought 100 banana and plantain starts from them, along with a good 50 more trees, including mango, avocado, starfruit, durian, litchi, grapefruit, and pomelo. Nick and Hilary ended up spending the last few hours practically riding back in a jungle. That’s more fruit for our future on the property, which is always great news!