Judy and Brenna McEvitt

A Family Visits El Salvador

Brenna McEvitt, Arvada, Colorado

Usually humility and pride are viewed as opposites, but the two words that come to mind the most when I think of the Fair Trade farmers who I visited in El Salvador are humble and proud. I've never seen a group of people so incredibly proud of what they do. It was amazing to see the love and dedication as they showed their process and the coffee that they produce. They live for the production of coffee and while they are proud of their coffee, they are always looking for ways to improve it. It was maddening to hear how they've been working to become certified organic, but can’t, due to the pesticides used by neighboring farms.

A Family in El Salvador

A family in El Salvador: Napo, Michelle, Kelvin, Debora, Elsa

Their work is no less than phenomenal. On the other end, the humility of those working in the cooperatives is awe-inspiring. They live in meager homes, many without beds to sleep in, but welcomed us as visitors and gave us their very best. Even their best coffee is exported to other countries, while the coffee they enjoy in their homes is from the third or fourth-rate beans harvested last in the cycle. I have never met a group of people who work so incredibly hard for the little money they receive, yet are graciously thankful for the opportunities that the Fair Trade cooperatives have provided their families. This gratitude and dedication are what stick with me and inspire me, even now that I’ve returned to my own life in America.

Judy McEvitt, Arvada, Colorado

The McEvitts in El Salvador

Judy, Brenna and John McEvitt at the El Pinal co-operative in El Salvador, January, 2011

I have been coordinating the Fair Trade sales at our church in Colorado for 9 years and I have been on two delegations to visit Fair Trade coffee farmers. The hospitality that was extended to all of us on each visit made a lasting impression on everyone in the group. The people we met were wonderful and excited to share their homes and simple meals with us, and eager to tell their stories. They are always striving to improve their coffee and make a better life for their children. Because I work full-time and have other commitments, occasionally I become weary of my Fair Trade responsibilities at the church. But all I have to do is picture the great people I have met in El Salvador and Chiapas, Mexico and their smiling families, and I have a renewed sense of dedication and joy in what I am doing. I consider them friends. Nothing motivates like a personal connection. We are all in this together to make a better world, a more just world.