Coffee grows best in high, cool climates, like the mountaintop aldea of Concepcion de Soluteca a couple of thousand meters above La Paz where I live. My Public Health team and I traveled there on a supervision visit and to deliver medical supplies, including a brand-new autoclave for sterilizing surgical instruments. The clinic building, however, is in sad need of repair. The pic of the almacen (warehouse) in La Paz seemingly loaded with supplies has to service 60 aldeas and 17 municipios in the departamento, many with no reliable transport to their sites. The 3,000 plus folk who inhabit Concepcion de Soluteca live on a complex of mountain peaks packed to the gills with coffee fincas. The community has no paved roads and is reached by a long, gravel and rock, gut-busting roadway. It does have electricity, a kintergarten, primary school, and secondary school besides the health center manned by an auxiliary nurse, somewhat like an LVN. Indeed, when we left she was treating a machete wound that would need multiple stitches. The coffee bushes visible in the top left pics are planted around and under banana trees that provide the shade they need. As a result the farmers harvest two crops. Notice the paucity of native trees and the cleared forest. Tomorrow we travel to an even more isolated aldea called Naranjo.
Concepcion de Soluteca
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