Tuesday, December 4, 2007
This is the process of drying coffee beans. They are spread out on plastic sheets, and then raked until dry. The coffee harvest is currently in progress. The day after this photo was taken we were taken through a processing plant where the coffee beans are separated from their husks, go through several washings, and a fermenting process before they are put in 150 pound bags and trucked to these fields to dry, after which they are roasted. You ought to see these guys hefting those bags! Coffee is the biggest export, and during harvest season people from all over the country come for the jobs, which I read pay about $2.50 a day. No gym membership needed here. The biggest customer for their coffee is the USA, and we were told by Juan that the country was very concerned that the re-election of Daniel Ortega would jeopardize that trade, as well as the help they need from other countries. Their own national debt rose so high that the country couldn´t even pay the interest ... and that was before Hurricane Mitch killed 6,000 people and left thousands homeless. The country still has not fully recovered.