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Slip and slide

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Today I decided that I’m not good at capturing the experience of the coffee farm worker (a.k.a. Starbucks/Earthwatch winners) photographically.

Fortunately, I have more time to figure out how to do it.

We arrived at our first field by 7:15 a.m. this morning in an attempt to out run the rains, which have intensified due to the hurricanes pounding the gulf coast.

Manrique Calderon, 31, led us up the steep, rocky road to the work site in the middle of his 9-acre coffee farm. He hopped off his four-wheeler and enthusiastically shook our hands.

After making brief introductions, we headed off to work.

And work it was.

It wasn’t the grueling, manual labor I thought it would be (and had mentally prepared for.) It was a different kind of work.

The first part of the day wasn’t too hard, and with the exception of the biting insect encounters, we fared pretty well.

We were working in teams of two or three, doing our different duties, calling out measurements of coffee bush height, how many berries per branch, and calculating density.

By the time 10:30 a.m. arrived, we were knee deep in tasks, and had become quite efficient in our own individual systems.

Then it came, just as we were moving to the steepest part of the farm where a 50% slope was our work surface.

The rain began to fall.

And the work became hard. Very, very hard.

And that was that. I ditched my camera for a rain jacket and continued working until we headed to the office for lunch at 1p.m.

The rest of the day was spent watching the continual downpour, eating rice and beans, entering data, and consuming large amounts of coffee.

Tomorrow, we begin again.
The group contemplates the work load.
Sebas, right, show Manrique how the GPS unit works.
More preparations.
Nati emphasizes the importance of the metric system.
Jason Ambrose, left, notes measurements.
Nati counts the coffee cherries.
Deborah, center, takes a breather.
Charlie, left, looks for his partner while Sebas assesses the situation.
The real calm before the storm.
Harmony, left, and Charlie pose post field work.
Deborah’s trip manicure didn’t fare too well after the first field day.
Alex, left, and Chris get to play with the soil samples back at the research center.
Jason, right, and Chris enter shade tree data.
Too much data entry leads to too much… well, you know.

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Written by barrentine

August 29, 2008 at 5:14 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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