There are few people that truly have the capability to inspire and move others. After meeting Alejandro for the first time, I was struck by his ambition, humility and kindness. Alejandro shared with us how he started working as a coffee picker at the age of 15, during his summers in order to help his mom provide for the household. His willingness to make something of himself propelled him to join the program in pursuit of a better life. After undergoing the training, he started selling pastries to friends, neighbors and a local hotel and restaurant, “Entre Pinos” and “Las Tilapias,” respectively. Alejandro’s ambition was to someday have a coffee shop and mobile coffee truck, which he would call Despistados. A little over 8 months have gone by, and it is astounding to see how much this young man has achieved. There are truly no boundaries when the desire to succeed exceeds your limitations.

Everything you see here, I have done it with the help of my brother-in-law. This used to be our home when I was growing up, it belonged to my uncle and now he passed it down to me, so that I could start my business. It was almost completely destroyed. It has been a long process but we are getting there. I want my coffee shop to be a place where the community can reconnect with our culture, to have a place to feel like home – were they can come an hear people narrate stories, play music. One of my goals is to rescue and preserve our roots, the coffee history of this region that has been dying off.

I always thought that I was going to be laborer for the rest of my life, working on someone else’s dream. Once I got acquainted with the program it gave me a different perspective. It allowed me to dream and push for my goals. The entire process of establishing a business has been hard but rewarding at the same time. I have invested every single dime I have on my venture, so I really hope it is successful.

I want to be able to someday have my own coffee farm and be involved in ever step of the process. The coffee shop is the first step, the mobile shop will come in a few years then my hopefully farm.

I owe everything to my mom and my family that have pushed me and propelled me to get up every time I am down. It has become our collective dream. I know opening a coffee shop in a community where the coffee drinking culture hasn’t grown is risky but I am determine to transform the culture and break some ground.

When I was younger my father abandoned us, my mom did and has continue to do everything in her reach to provide for us. It was difficult, especially for my younger siblings. Not knowing whether we would have food on the table the next day was tough but it propelled us to fight harder everyday. The hardship did however taught me that nothing in life is certain, you have to make it happen.

Alejandro’s coffee shop is the embodiment of what having access to knowledge and resources coupled with the passion and ability to pursue one’s dream looks like.