Our colleagues, Nicole and Alain, have returned to Newport Beach and London, respectively; the spotlight is now on Drew and me to wrap things up in the
next couple of weeks. We believe we are in great shape for the presentation in early October to USAID and TechnoServe.
Last week we participated in a farmer’s field day, a day on a demonstration farm where farm management topics are demonstrated and discussed. Afterwards we
spoke with a handful of farmers about our project – the concept was well received. Two things became clear: a farmer’s priorities are their children’s
education and family wellbeing, and loans keep them up at night. Since our project is about access to loans for fertilizer, we need to make sure this model
is attractive and sustainable, while being centered on the farmers.
The focus of this weekend was nature, where we saw two waterfalls in different places. To reach the first one, we drove up a steep road along the side of a
mountain that seemed like a vertical wall of rock, and took a 15 minute hike to reach it. Water from the jungle above carved out a path through the top of
this the mountain, creating a long, tall and beautiful waterfall.
The second one, called the Bride’s Dress waterfall, was much more difficult to reach: a challenging five hour hike. The weather was in the high 90's, with
high humidity and limited cloud cover. I drank three liters of water...on the way up! The challenge was not from physical strength but from balance and
agility, as there are many places where you have to navigate across deceivingly slippery river rocks.
These treks were great opportunities to get to know the people we were with. One highlight was getting to know Danny, a business and technical advisor to
farmers in the San Martín region. Alongside his wife, Danny is embarking on a quest to reduce deforestation by training native tribes to improve their
coffee and cocoa farming practices. Danny and his wife’s approach is one of listening first and not helping until being asked to help. By starting with the
community’s goals, hopes and dreams and showing them what a productive farm looks like, they empower and motivate the community leaders and members to
improve their wellbeing and that of their environment. It is inspiring to see and meet people who dedicate their life’s effort to helping others.