I figured what better way to follow up a blogpost from a month ago with a continuation of it this month. Last month, I recapped some of what has been going on here in South East Asia with Underground Coffee. 2016, was a huge year for us and saw many milestones being met. Hopefully 2017 will also have a lot of 'firsts' for our team here.
This year we've got a lot of things planned and are praying for God to help them all come together. Here's a little bit of what we have going on this year:
- This spring we'll finish up our processing center as well as begin construction on an office/training center in the village. The training center will give us a place to stay while we're in the village (very important during those long weeks of planting and harvest). It will also serve as a place to bring the community together. We plan to eventually use the training center as a place for coffee trainings and use as a coffee lab for training local farmers. We'll be able to use this to educate them on better techniques, how the coffee market works, and also allow us to have more quality control for the coffee grown there. All this means more understanding of the coffee industry for the local farmers. It also means helping them find ways to increase their income and quality of product.
- This spring we also have some smaller construction projects planned like digging a water well, running electrical lines and finishing up some fencing. We're all looking forward to investing in a few power tools once we get the electrical up and running. I'm getting a little tired of using a handsaw on all the hardwood out here.
- This summer we will again plant some new coffee varieties on our farm. Since we are introducing these new varieties, we're realizing it can be a little hard to source seed. Villagers think we're crazy that we care so much about knowing exactly what we're planting, but it is part of being able to introduce new genetics into a community. So this year we'll plant some Java and some Geisha. We'll also start seedlings for 2018's planting, since the timing of harvest from our seed source is too late to get them for this year's planting.
- This fall our plan is to participate in harvest along with the villagers. The coffee that we've planted over the past couple years will not be mature enough, but we will use the mill to process coffee that other farmers have grown. We'll work with them on quality and pay them more for a better product. Our goal is to export to the US and we're currently working on a plan with a coffee importer to bring our coffee stateside this next harvest.
So 2017 should be a big year. There will be a lot of firsts and hopefully opportunities to deepen relationships in the village. If this year is the same as the last couple of years, there will also be a lot of unexpected things happen (and probably some of the expected things not happen). That old adage of "Man plans, and God laughs" has definitely been true during our time here. One of those unexpected things is coming up this weekend. We've been stateside for the past couple months and as soon as we got back in country we found out that the village church will have a baptism and baby dedication this Sunday. I'll fill everyone in more on that in the coming weeks.