In October, Coffee Kids arranged the first direct connections between youth in Central and South America. Our group met in Guatemala City, our regional headquarters, and then piled into a car to visit to our young farmers in the beautiful region of the Trifinio region of Central America. Trifinio is the tri-border region of Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. For today I’ll focus on our visit in Honduras, but stay tuned for interviews with youth across this region coming soon!

On this five day journey, Verena Fischersworring was our guide. Verena is the Regional Manager of Latin America and lives in Guatemala. Joining us from South America were two young men from Coffee Kids in Colombia- Daniel Valencia who is the Coffee Kids facilitator for all the youth groups in Colombia and Jorge Suarez who is a student and leader from the first youth group in Colombia (read more about Jorge here). For both Daniel and Jorge it was the first time traveling outside their home country and they were enthusiastic to learn and share with all the youth we meet.

There were many incredible experiences on this trip, starting with our first stop in Honduras. Here we visited the youth committee of UNIOCAFE. These youth have cultivated their own coffee to create the first Coffee Kids Youth Empowerment Coffee (read more here). Instead of sitting inside to talk, this group organized stations to demonstrate their knowledge of coffee growing, picking, processing, drying and tasting! Tasting is a crucial step for these young farmers. It is really important for them to understand how their practices on the farm influence the flavors of the coffee in a cup. When these young farmers know what a good coffee tastes like, they are motivated to continue to improve their agricultural techniques.

Throughout the entire day I could see Daniel and Jorge bubbling with excitement, they were jumping in with questions and suggestions based on their own experience. Jorge is already growing his own coffee and he is knowledgeable on how to experiment with different ways to process the coffee to bring out different flavors. He put his coffee on the table for tasting among the Honduran coffees and it was the first time that members of UNIOCAFE had a chance to taste another type of processed coffees. Jorge was extremely proud to share his coffee with his new friends.

This is but one example of the positive interactions between youth from different regions during the trip. It truly highlights the importance of exchange, for youth to be able to discuss ideas with other youth pursuing a similar livelihood. Now we are focusing on finding more ways to create spaces for youth to share challenges and keep each other motivated. Since our trip, Daniel is coordinating webinars between our youth groups in Colombia and the youth of UNIOCAFE. The first of these webinars lasted for nearly two hours with the sharing their different businesses and visual demonstration of the various ways to process the coffee.

My takeaway is that it is my responsibility to continue to help open doors, identify new ways to communicate, and to connect you, our supporters, with the youth that are eager and motivated to take on the industry by storm.