Honduras

Transforming Lives, One Cup of Coffee at a Time

Growers First coffee farmer, Rito Sierra with his wife, Maria, and four of their
Growers First coffee farmer, Rito Sierra with his wife, Maria, and four of their five children.

Fight global poverty, invest in agriculture. ~ Growers First

As the winter winds bite at our collars, a hot cup of coffee is a perfect antidote for healing.  But what you might not consider when you sip a mug of dark roast is the economic injustices that many coffee growers around the world face.   

Coffee is one of the largest cash crops in the world – the U.S.D.A. Foreign Agricultural Service reports that last year 15,689,340,000 pounds of coffee were distributed worldwide. Yet, indigenous coffee growers see only a tiny fraction of its revenue. 

These are some of the reasons why fair exchange programs such as  Growers First  got into the coffee business — to tip the scales of economic and social inequity that has become a way of life for many coffee farmers globally in a more just direction.

Even more importantly, Growers First exists to transform lives. The non-profit based in Laguna Beach, Calif., has a powerful story of action, conflict, struggle — and ultimately hope.

Chicken Run

After four trips to Honduras—enough time to meet the rigorous standards of scientific data gathering—I can finally conclude that roosters do not crow to greet the dawn, except by coincidence. It turns out they also crow the minute before dawn, and the minute after, and subsequently every minute for the rest of the day.

I observed this phenomenon mainly during the early morning hours, when most humans would expect a few hours of invigorating sleep. My bedroom window was above the local meeting place for area roosters who, unlike their American kindred, do not start their day on a rooftop, silhouetted by the rising sun, before providing the stern but compassionate guidance their broods depend on. Nope. They mainly just hang out and crow. Repeatedly.

Sadly, I saw many young chickens wandering around who clearly could have benefited from adult leadership. But their long-suffering mothers were too harried to provide it, so the young chicks lacked the role models so critical to today’s youth. So, after much study, I must reluctantly conclude that Honduran roosters have no observable domestic skills or duties.

This is not one of those “theories” like gravity or evolution, which scientists on the Kansas school board have responsibly debunked. No, this is objective fact. I know this because, like Jane Goodall and her mountain gorillas, I “lived among them” for a whole week. They emitted a constant annoying background noise—similar to the music of Enya—that provided the soundtrack to each evening’s sleeplessness.

They could have done something more productive, such as pecking sense into the local tarantula population, although I realize this is a long shot, since tarantulas have no natural enemies except military-grade munitions.

Read the Full Article

​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Resisting the Coup

Honduras, a tiny country whose internal political affairs would have been previously considered insignificant, has garnered an enormous amount of international attention since the ouster of President Manuel “Mel” Zelaya. On June 28, Honduran military troops forced the democratically elected leader onto a plane at gunpoint, flew him out of the country, and installed Roberto Micheletti, who was then head of the legislature, as the de facto executive.

The situation in Honduras remains extremely tense since the coup. The coup regime has shuttered two opposition media outlets, Radio Globo and Canal 36, and there has been a steady erosion of civil liberties. Human rights groups have attributed at least 10 deaths to coup crackdowns on civil society and to increased persecution since Zelaya sought refuge in the Brazilian Embassy in Tegucigalpa on Sept. 21.

While Zelaya may have been a controversial figure, and the de facto regime has tried to argue that it is operating constitutionally and within the law, governments worldwide quickly and unanimously condemned the military’s violent expatriation of the democratically elected president. The dangerous precedent this sets for the rest of the Latin America countries, many with their own unpopular governments, has placed an enormous weight on the international community to respond.

Read the Full Article

Sojourners Magazine December 2009
​You've reached the end of our free magazine preview. For full digital access to Sojourners articles for as little as $2.95, please subscribe now. Your subscription allows us to pay authors fairly for their terrific work!
Subscribe Now!

Pages

Subscribe