Today was a very long day and luckily it was much cooler than yesterday! We began our day by hearing the testimony of a gentleman's fight for social and political justice, beginning during seventies and continuing to today. His testimony was very emotional, due to the numerous hardships he endured and yet was very inspiring. He is a great example of the motivation and audacity individuals and groups possess for working toward change. His testimony was a reminder as to the importance of human rights for everyone, the impact of violations of human rights, and the challenges that arise in achieving these rights in societies that are adamant that such change does not occur.
We next journeyed up the mountainside and visited a coffee co-op, where organic fair trade coffee is grown, processed, and exported. I thought that it was very good and I am not much of a coffee drinker. I myself had a few cups and as it was hot out, drinking a hot beverage was not in my favor, but it was too good to just have one. The gentleman who is one of the partners running the co-op was very knowledge and passionate about the coffee process. I learned a lot about coffee and was given a tour that guided me through the entire process. Not only did I learned about the agricultural component of coffee, but about the social and political global component of the coffee industry. I learned about roya, which is a fungus that infects coffee plants and is a crisis for coffee growers worldwide. Unfortunately, being an organic and fair trade co-op is difficult and costly, despite the benefits of having such products and their benefit to the economy. Both fair trade and organic products are human rights issues because resources should be shared equally and both the environment and the health of humanity should not be comprised for monetary greed.
We next went to Paseo El Carmen, which is a shopping area. I bought some items and got to sit in bench that was sculpted to look like two hands cupped together. I unfortunately do not have photos of this area, as my camera died toward the end of our tour at the co-op. Another group member took a photo of me sitting on the hand bench, so all is well. ;)