For centuries, Aponte has been home to the Inga, near descendants of the Inca. Since January 2016, many homes have collapsed due to the movements of a nearby geological fault line- the local school and church have crumbled and several houses have been destroyed, forcing nearly 40% of the population to leave and resettle elsewhere. Despite some presence from international and Colombian aid organizations, the effects of the shifting fault line have largely not been addressed.
Think Coffee has partnered with the local coffee cooperative, Cooperativa de Cafes Especiales de Nariño, to mitigate the effects of this misfortune. 40 cents per pound of green coffee purchased will be invested into purchasing construction materials. Specifically, the farmers have asked us to buy brick, concrete, metal, and roofing, so that they can rebuild their homes in fault-safe zones. This way, we are truly partnered on this project together: the farmers will be in control of their individual needs, but we will continue to fund it and travel back to Aponte to make sure that we are working in the best way possible.
Next projected goal
Our next steps include figuring out the logistics for how to distribute materials to the 17 beneficiaries who are moving on to the next phase of construction. Our partners at Aponte and Coop Especiales will conduct interviews to assess specific needs of each beneficiary. From there, we will be able to set a start date for the next phase of our Housing Reconstruction project.
Enrique travels to Aponte with Paul, photographer and barista from our Hudson Yards store. Together, they visit 42 housing sites to asses how the project has progressed. So far, 17 beneficiaries will continue to the next phase of the project, 13 are still constructing their homes with the initial materials received, and 12 have completed construction.
Noah visits Aponte to follow up on the progress of the original materials distributed. 5 people have almost completed their homes! The rest have been lagging, for a variety of reasons, so Noah and Fercho establish guidelines and deadlines for construction for the original 20 beneficiaries.
Another 20 people whose homes have collapsed are chosen to benefit from the next purchase.
Coop Especiales sends us an update with photos to show how each beneficiary is doing. Click here to read our April 2017 report.
Noah, with 6th Avenue barista Chad Steed & Shaun Morrissey, return to work with Fernando and Jose on executing the project. They spend one day reviewing each farmer's construction needs, one day purchasing everything requested, and the next several days delivering and distributing materials among the families.
Noah travels back to Aponte to begin concrete talks for our project. Here, he has a meeting with the 21 coffee farmers to communally figure out the best way to implement the project. Noah and Jose initially propose to design a simple template for houses and to build as many as the budget can fit. The farmers counter that the largest help will be for Think and CoopEspeciales to purchase each family the materials they need for construction, that way they can do their own rebuilding in marked safe areas.
Noah Welch, Director of Coffee and International Projects, and Enrique Hernandez, District Manager of the West Side Stores, travel to Colombia to find Colombian coffee for our blend. Here, they make contact with Jose Gomez of the Nariño Coffee Cooperative, who introduces Noah and Enrique to the farmers of Aponte.
View our project brief here.
To read the initial results of interviews with the farmers (Spanish), click here.
To read the UN OCHA report on Aponte (Spanish), click here.
To read our April 2017 report from CoopEspeciales, click here.