In the past year some volunteers have been helping Andres and Silvia, its our hope in the next few weeks Andres and Silvia and their 4 gorgeous kids will have their own home, purchased with the aid of a few wwoofers and NeverLand farm. Volunteers have pitched in, some of you who love Andres and know what a major cool guy he is! He is still short some, but I know you all will kick in! If anyone wants to make a donation to the house Andres fund just send me a note and I will send the info on transferring money to Andres. Those of you who have been here know what wonderful news this is to us all! It is practically impossible for a regular guy, farm worker, here to purchase land. If you don’t inherit you don’t normally get to own. We are determined to help our neighbours to ownership.
On that note...
Brewing Hope was an idea I had several years ago when I took a boy from the mountains here to the US for cancer treatment. I actually took his whole family. You cannot have a cancer patient of 7 years old in treatment without the support of the family, I believe. So we all went. And, as I am quite poor myself, we had to raise money to live. Shelley, a Catholic Worker friend, along with Sue and Bill and other Catholic Workers on the East Coast, helped us create Brewing Hope to sell our very high quality, organic, shaded, high altitude café Arabica to raise money for the family. Jose David lived for 15 months, and they were good months, but he finally succumbed to a parasite after a stem cell transplant (Duke University Hospital was also very good to us). His loss was personally devastating to me, he was a son of my heart.
His legacy to Ecuador, to our specific area, is Brewing Hope. With the funds raised from the sales of our café we are able to provide many things for our community. Sometimes this is in the form of helping someone get medical treatment, sometimes we buy shoes for the children, we made sure every child in the elementary school got nice gifts last Christmas, plus their brothers and sisters. We have purchased several wheelchairs, and had one made for a girl in the mountains (a mountain bike like wheelchair, she has now outgrown it and needs another). And now we want to begin helping local families have homes. Permanent homes, places to raise their children and work. The only thing we asked of the new owners is that they be organic on their new land, that they learn, with us, to be better stewards of our Madre Tierra.
Many young men and women in Ecuador choose to migrate to urban centers, in Ecuador and other countries, leaving their young children in the custody of grandparents, aunts, whatever family member. The parents always feel that by leaving their children and working elsewhere they can better hope to provide for the kids. NeverLand believes that parents leaving the kids to support them is a painful, and just plain bad, way to do it! But the options here are so limited! So we have decided to dedicate ourselves to helping moms and dads stay on the farm, their own farms, in Ecuador.
Money from the sales of café to purchase land is not the only way, we accept donations and hope to have our tax free ID in a few more months. But with the sale of café we are planting seeds of micro industry as well as kids and parents. The more café we sell, the more we need. So the farmers we get land for are able to plant, organically, café and sell that café to us, at better than market prices (our home grown version of free trade) and establish an income and industry with us. And you, the consumer of our really delicious café, get not only café but a sense of joy in helping to provide a manner for families to stay together, for kids to have medical supplies, uniforms, and toys. 100% of our profits go back into this community. We do not take any money for administration, none of that. Just selling café and accepting donations to go direct to the needy. NeverLands version of a helping hand. Less paperwork this way as well.
We have plenty of children here lacking SHOES and clothes. Any gently used quality kids shoes that you bring can be fitted to some kid in our neighbourhood. Kids’ shoes are often really cheap at the Salvation Army or thrift stores, if you are travelling here direct from wherever consider loading up that extra duffel bag with some kid shoes or clothes?! You can spend 10. And get a great return on your investment, you get to see some kid get out of mismatched flops into your gift. Boots, sneakers, river shoes, black for school. Whatever! Just an idea. Toys are nice, too. And you can take the bag back full of Brewing Hope café, and mail it to whomever has ordered café or buy it yourself (great gift idea, 2-3 pounds of organic, biodynamic, high altitude, shaded, fair traded, Arabica café that you probably picked your self)! School Projects
This past few months we have been able to accommodate more and more volunteers at our local school. The school is always understaffed. Too many kids, not enough teachers. Our volunteers have been attending classes with the kids. As most of us are not certified teachers we can only do so much. But teaching some English, helping with homework, playing basketball and just generally support the teachers has been very welcome, the teachers and parents are thrilled.
At the high school level we want to have more volunteers who spend their days helping those kids who would like to be college bound. Julia, and Alaina, previous volunteers, have had strong ideas on providing guidance towards higher education and have helped these kids be more likely to go on to university. So far many of the kids that come out of our local high school are not likely to be qualified to advanced education. Their economic status is usually low low income and their education does not include much, if any, computer skills. In May we hope to begin offering some computer skills classes to the teachers, and hopefully this will continue to the students, but almost any gringo kid who comes here, from any country, has more computer ability than the teachers! So we are trying pretty hard to get in there and help. If you are interested in working in either the high school or elementary school please let us know. This type of volunteering requires at least a month commitment. Additionally if you want to bring an older, but too old, computer with you for students that would be GREAT!! Teaching in the schools, finally, is one hell of a cool way to immerse yourself in Spanish- learning while teaching.