Equator Travel Blog

Panama - Finca Sofia Update!

Posted on Apr 17, 2010 Bookmark and Share

by David Pohl
I just returned from a wonderful trip to Finca Sofia, Equator's fledgling coffee farm in Panama.  This trip was focused on three aspects of the farm: worker housing, getting Angelica, a girl on a farm with a deformed leg, on a plane to the US  for surgery, and checking on the status of our coffee trees.

"Retro" leveling building site

We have been planning worker housing since we bought the farm three years ago.  A lot of though has gone into the final plans, including input from the very workers who will in habit it.  The result is a comfortable, high-quality, culturally appropriate dwelling for the 7 full time employees and their families. Susan Church, a contractor from Berkeley, CA, and I, along with out farm manager, Kelly Hartmann, broke ground on the worker housing last week when we rented a back-hoe/front loader.  This machine pictured below struggled for 10 hours at it removed massive volcanic boulders from the building site, and in some cases buried these boulders because it simply wasn't feasible to remove them.

Angelica day of trip We now have a site cleared and leveled, ready an waiting for construction to being.  Materials are being ordered this week for the foundation, and we'll take it from there.  The estimated time of completion is 6 months from now, a long time we feel, but things happen at their own pace in the remote section of Panama where we find our farm. Angelica, the little girl who we have connected with Shriners hospital finally received a surgery date, so by chance Susan and I were involved in the logistics of getting her to Panama City with her mom to catch a flight to Tampa Florida.  Angelica had her surgery Tuesday and will be fitted with a prosthetic limb, allowing here to play and go to school, things she has not been able to do for much of her life. Finally we walked the farm with agronomist Edgardo Miranda, seeing great progress all over the place, including even a smattering of geisha flowers.  This very exciting development came a year earlier than we expected and is a positive sign that we'll have a little coffee to sample next year!

First Geisha Flowers on Finca Sofia, April 2010 I'll be spending a month on Finca Sofia this summer, learning more about how a farm operates, seeing the worker housing to completion (we hope) and checking on Angelica's recovery.
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