This October I was lucky enough to travel to Nicaragua for two weeks to document the work of Food 4 Farmers. Food 4 Farmers is a non profit that focuses on addressing the problem of chronic seasonal hunger is Latin America. Coffee is a seasonal product, which means when it is no longer a time for harvest or growth, families must rely on what’s left of their income from the coffee harvest, or their savings. Food 4 Farmers works with co-operatives and community-based organizations to help identify challenges, resources and strategies specific to the community and build long-term solutions to hunger. In order to accomplish this, Food 4 Farmers works with communities on Strategic Planning and Capacity Assessment, Community Diagnosis, Partnerships and Alliances, and Monitoring and Evaluation. On this trip I travelled with Marcela Pino, co-director of Food 4 Farmers, to Jinotega where we worked with Soppexcca, a coffee co-op.
It was an incredible trip.
One of the most important parts of the trip for me was going to two different coffee processing Beneficios and talking with some the farmers.
Below are images from a “wet” processing plant.
Below are images from a “dry” processing plant.
The first time I came to this Beneficio I met Maria, who was very patient and kind to me, as it took me a while to communicate ideas in Spanish.
Maria and her family already had two pigs, I was really impressed.
She took me on a walk to show me some of her coffee. It was incredibly generous of her to take the time to walk with me.
I returned to the same Beneficio a week later with Marcela. As part of her work for Food 4 Farmers, Marcela was interviewing a family to gain a better idea of some of their needs.
On our way I met this lovely woman who was kind enough to show me around her home. I love her eyes!
While Marcela was interviewing I spent most of my time talking with the women. As a portrait photographer working in the US, there is one thing that felt very different about photographing people from rural areas in Nicaragua. The type of portraits I like to make are one’s where the subject seems very natural and present in the photograph. In the US there are some who can easily be themselves when being photographed, but normally I have to talk to people for quite a while before they trust me enough to relax – either that or I just wear them down. In Nicaragua I found I was still talking with people, but once we spent a few minutes together they were all perfectly themselves. Yes, I was respectful and kind when interacting with people, but I am also like that in the US – I cannot tell you how refreshing and surprising it was! It was wonderful spending time with these fantastic women. They were welcoming, kind and gracious.
None of this would be possible without the help of two very generous, anonymous funders, to whom I am very grateful.
That’s the end of Part I, more on Nicaragua next post!