A Real Service to Los Frios

May 26, 2009

I left the US on 5/13/09 for a usual Finca La Paz follow up visit [see here for that report].  I wanted to check to progress of the coffee and a few short cycle crops in development. As per my usual rate of speed in the US I hadn’t paid much attention to fundamentals, and paid much attention to details.  For example, what time does my flight leave? Is it on time? Will I make the flight even though the bank took 40 minutes when I scheduled 5 minutes?  I made my flight. After only a couple days in Los Frios my heart rate had returned to its Dominican pace and I felt more at peace with the world.  I often walk through the town thinking, what more can I do?

I’ve received lofty complements on what I have already done for Los Frios from the community members, but I feel like I have done very little. One thing Dominicans have figured out is that people are the point.  Making friends is worth more than doing tasks. I have made many many friends, hence they see me as very productive. One night while journaling I was able to write down my feelings and it was simple. What are my priorities? How can I better serve Los Frios?

Finca La Paz is mine.  I own the land and the crops.  Sure I’m trying to develop a quality driven production chain from the DR to the US, which could benefit every coffee farmer in town.  As this is a long term goal, it will be years before this is well established. And my lack of patience has driven me to try harder in the short term.  I did receive an answer to my second question: finish the earth bag house.  Almost every person I talked to asked me the following questions in this order: how are you? how is your famliy? and your father? and mother and sisters? and your friends Claire, Gray and Max? when are you going to work on the earth bag house? [note: people then tasks]

Even people 14km away asked immediately about the house! Los Frios has spoken.  They want to see this house.  They have seen coffee.  They have yet to see the prices I talk about, but they might some day. In order to do the earth bag house I need to raise another $1,500 just to finish it, then go there on a short trip when it isn’t raining. It will take another $1,000USD to equip the house so the eco-tourism guides can use it. The money should be easy.  The rain is actually harder to manage.  Better said, the rain can’t be managed.

I will cross my fingers for no rain in early August. I will cross my fingers that I have the money in June so they can start getting the rest of the materials ready. I will cross my fingers that my full time job will allow me to take about 8 work days to get the house off the foundation.

Calle #2 (the one we cut) and the house site tucked behind the banana tree

Calle #2 (the one we cut) and the house site tucked behind the banana tree

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