We recently hosted students from the Leapnow program at The Mountain School, in La Dalia, Nicaragua. The students in this program alternated Spanish classes with activities with local children, an introduction to coffee production, the natural environment of the area, and other aspects of Nicaragua.
|These students are learning what it means to make a cup of great, Nicaraguan coffee. Photo Gigi Austin.|
Most poor people in the region of La Dalia pick coffee during the peak of the season, from October through March, each year. Unlike the poor of so many other countries, the majority of Nicaraguan rural people are small-scale landholders, which means they can alternate paid activities on the farms of other people with activities on their own land. They can farm basic staples such as corn and beans so they don't have to pay cash for them, saving the small amount of money they earn from other activities to cover the few necesities they just can't get except in the cash economy. Many of these farms are now enjoying extra income, thanks to organic certification and fair trade marketing.
|Eating raw coffee beans in the hull is not recommended! Photo Gigi Austin.|
|This year's coffee harvest promises many jobs for Nicaraguan poor people, and profits for small-scale farmers. Photo Gigi Austin.|
|Leapnow students designed an astronomy exhibit for the local children in the after-school library project. Photo Gigi Austin.|
|The Leapnow students helped decorate the after-school library at The Mountain School. Photo Gigi Austin.|
|Water abounds in the mountains of northern Nicaragua. Photo Gigi Austin.|
|Spanish students enjoy an afternoon swim near The Mountain School. Photo Gigi Austin.|
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