On Tuesday, to meet their first special guest peacemaker, campers traveled to Guatemala. Well, to the Guatemala house at the Habitat for Humanity Global Village in Americus. There they met Bill Harris, the founder of Café Campesino who is a strong advocate for fair trade. Through his leadership and example, Café Campesino has become part of a greater movement – with emphasis on social entrepreneurship, sustainability, & business by the Golden Rule.
We visited with Bill at the Guatemala house in particular because it was during a Habitat building project in Guatemala that he first became aware of the situation of small coffee farmers and took the first steps to join them in promoting fairer practices in the coffee trade. Watch Bill tell his story by clicking the video below.
At the Guatemala house, Bill described what makes a healthy house in Guatemala – a smoke-free stove, an adequate roof, an adequate toilet, and a clean water supply. And he helped us understand why the homes where many coffee farmers live are not healthy. Fair trade practices are one step that can help people live healthy lives in safe, comfortable homes.
Roan (our camper pictured with Bill above) raised her hand and asked Bill if he feels it is realistic to expect fair trade practices to expand worldwide. Bill’s answer was a passionate, “Yes!” He said that the fair trade model can be applied to many, many more products that we buy. Because fair trade makes win-win economic interactions possible, it’s feasible for workers all over the world to raise their standard of living.
Across the street at Café Campesino’s coffee roastery, our learning continued. We saw how the coffee beans that Café Campesino buys from their partner farmers are processed to make the coffee we drink.
Bill emphasized how he never set out to be in the coffee business specifically. Instead, he followed his interests and passions to offer a solution to a problem he saw in Guatemala that could help farmers create a better way to make a living. And this vision has now spread to many other countries as well!
Roan and other campers left informed and inspired to seek ways they, too, can participate in the fair trade movement.