About 48 hours after Hurricane Matthew struck Haiti I began to make calls trying to reach friends throughout the country. These times are strenuous because it’s difficult to reach people in Haiti regularly, but having a hurricane strike the country changes the game.
As I waited patiently for phone lines to work, or Facebook messages to be returned my mind reeled back to the devastation of the earthquake. Every time you reached someone they told stories of those around them who had died, sometimes our friends were found in the rubble.
I prayed this time would be different and it was. Four days later messages and calls began to come my way. I talked with our Agronomist who lives in Les Cayes, one of the hardest hit cities. “Thank God our family is ok but the town has been hit hard.”
He and I were very close to placing orders for coffee with farmers in a new region of the country. I inquired if he had heard from them and how they fared. “We brought their families here, as many as we could, but we hear their crops are completely lost.” My heart sank knowing high winds had caused nearly ripe cherries to be blown from the coffee plants. Our hope is that the plants survived. Time will tell.
In another region where we source, farmers reported losing 25% of their harvest. But when you make less than $1000 annually, that reflects a substantial loss.
Soon we will be placing our orders, paying above fair trade pricing, and reinvesting in farms. We are in the process of talking to the few farmers we work with and assessing their needs, and will be on the ground soon to begin the work.
Now more than ever it is important to bring our farmers hope. I look forward to being with them in the winter, sitting at rickety tables, sipping coffee and telling them the positive stories that we hear from our customers about how much they love 1804 Coffee and believe in the farmers. Our partnership with the farmers isn’t just transactional it’s relational. We are going to bring assistance, help and hope, but your stories add a different layer of hope. They feel valued and supported, and quite simply that they aren’t alone. So send us your stories or comments and we will pass them along!
We deem it an extreme privilege to represent them in the marketplace and partner with them at the farm level. We sincerely appreciate every bag of coffee you buy and enjoy.