Guatemala Day 2: Playing Tourist

zipSaturday we played tourists for a bit in the morning, visiting a local coffee plantation that gives tours and has a zip line course (7 lines) through their coffee fields. We learned about the process of growing and harvesting coffee as well as a bit of the history of coffee growing in that area of Guatemala. We also saw first-hand how devastating the roya fungus has been for the farmers. The particular plantation that we were at, which is a cooperative of over 100 small farmers, had cut down half of their coffee crops in an effort to eliminate the disease. They are planting green beans and broccoli in place of it in some areas. Roya fungus has a progressive effect on the plants, beginning by turning the leaves yellow and keeping the berries from ripening, and ending with completely destroying the plant and leaving only a stick tree behind. At the end we saw their beneficio, or processing plant, for turning the cherries into dry, green beans for shipping.IMG_20130928_130808731IMG_20130928_131713598_HDR IMG_20130928_132214090
After our tour, we visited the street market in Cobán. We went through quickly trying to see and absorb so much. The local people were amused at the site of Rosebud with her fair hair and blue eyes. One group of girls even asked to take her picture with their cell phone. 🙂  (The cell network has been great for the people in rural Guatemala–the hope of getting telephone line out to the villages and homes would never happen, but with cell phones, they can now have much better communication.)IMG_20130928_145313607 IMG_20130930_104150311 IMG_20130928_142549176
Later that day we visited a women’s weaving co-op that had been started by a former missionary to help women earn an income for their families. They had many gorgeous cloths and bags and shirts there. The weaving is beautiful.IMG_20130928_170227039

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