Recently, several of our team members had the opportunity to visit our partners in Chiapas, Mexico. It was a powerful opportunity to connect with our local team and to learn from their experiences and expertise. Here are the collective reflections of the team behind the visit:
We have the incredible opportunity to lead our first vision trip to Chiapas, Mexico. Our Chiapas program has several unique characteristics as well as incredible opportunities, and this trip included members of our Development team as well as members of Finance, Human Resources, Innovation Lab and International Programs teams. Esdras, the regional coordinator, presented a program overview.
MIEL, CAFÉ, & "CREATING THE AWAKENING"
We ventured into the Yochib watershed of Chiapas and experienced two incredible community efforts. However, these are not simply microenterprises that result from individual or family efforts, but truly the result of Purpose Groups working together in the development process.
Our first stop was a community where the first group in Chiapas was initiated. Alfonso Lopez shared the impact that equipment has had on the quality and quantity of his honey business, and we were able to see firsthand his organic production. He commented that the role of Plant With Purpose here has been to "create the awakening in us." With the encouragement and support our teams have given, he mentioned that they don't need to leave to find a better life, but can find it right here.
At that point, Luis clarified that it is his family and the group that do the real work throughout the process. One important point is that his young son, Augustin, is actually the president of the Purpose Group, showing the empowerment of the next generation.
Next we traveled to another community to visit the home of Simon Pedro. After visiting Simon Pedro last year, we can see the difference a year makes! Not only is Simon still producing coffee and using his roaster, but it is clear to see the community and group effort and unity here. It is not about the roaster, it is about a community coming together to envision a better future, utilize skills, apply their resources, and bring about the transformation together. Simon is also now a facilitator as part of the staff!
WHAT PLANTING A TREE MEANS TO ME:
One of the trip highlights for participants was joining two communities for a tree planting day. These were areas with primarily indigenous Mayan populations, and as we planted, community members sung songs over the planting activities in their local language.
There are many different ways to approach planting trees, but doing so through the perspective of spiritual renewal and the revitalization of all creation offered real inspiration. The opportunity to plant alongside this warm group of people was spiritually invigorating. It brought to mind a prayer by Hildegard of Bingen:
Composer of all things, light of all the risen,
key of salvation, release from the dark prison,
hope of all unions, scope of all chastities,
joy in the glory, strong honor–
be with us and hear us.
Our time in these communities offered a good look at how they care for visitors and one another.