Life at the Coffee Farm
9 July 2015
There is a distinct hierarchy on this coffee farm. There are the owners, their family and then the workers, but whether you are the owner of the coffee farm or a worker at the farm, everybody is treated with equal respect and is well looked after.
Within the workers there is also hierarchy; there is the head of agriculture, head of engineering, and the head of staff. The teacher is also highly regarded and has her own separate living quarters.
A typical day starts at 5:00am when the sound of the birds is used as an alarm. Currently there are 60 workers on this farm, although this more then doubles during ‘picking’ season. After roll call, work begins! Even when it is not “picking season” or production time there is always something to be done, such as repairing paths, building fences, and fertilising soil.
Typically the men do these kinds of jobs while the women are in charge of the cooking and the cleaning. Cooking for this amount of people is no easy task and the women are cooking over open flame with great pots of rice and beans, while others are patting out fresh tortillas ready to be cooked to perfection over hot plates. Anywhere from 25-30 degree heat outside results in a very hot kitchen!! Making tortillas are no mean feat as we discovered when we were put to the job - it is a lot more difficult than it looks! These tortillas along with rice, beans, meat and fresh vegetables make up their staple diet.
The children’s school day starts at 7:00am, but from what we saw, the younger ones tend to turn up as and when they please. Both the school and work day finishes at 2pm with lunch immediately following, and then it is rest and relaxation for the families. However on this farm, the teacher then goes on to hold classes for the adults as many of them cannot read or write.There is very little electricity on offer and for both the owners and the workers, the lights only come on at 6:00pm at night.
An extremely important part of the Nicaraguan culture is their strong religious belief. The chapel sits proudly close to the school and is visited regularly as people please with a full service for the farm held every second Sunday.
It’s been a privilege for us to be welcomed into this family and included in their community.