Our team had the opportunity to travel to Northern Thailand and explore the coffee farms in the area. Below is a little about one of our barista's experience on the trip.
My trip to Thailand was a great learning experience. It opened my eyes to a whole new side of coffee. This trip impacted me especially because I now understand the hard work that farmers put into producing the coffee. It made me want to work harder in what I do and how I understand the coffee that I make at St. Clare. I'm also able to teach others more about the process, which really excites me. The way the farmers were so committed to what they do encouraged me to never quit on something that means a lot to me. I found it refreshing that they were not all so consumed with materialistic things like we are in America. They live simply, but with a lot of passion for what they do. I was so happy to see the whole process of coffee; not only did I get to see it... I got to be a part of it! I picked cherries off a coffee tree and learned new vocabulary related to the farming process. I even got to help the farmers put some of the cherries into the pulper and watch the cherry transform from a cherry to a bean. This is the kind of information I am so excited to share with our customers and friends.
Our trip also opened my eyes to a new kind of poverty. We visited an orphanage in Chang Saen that is run by our partners at Not For Sale. Not For Sale is a global Anti-Trafficking organization based in the Bay Area but has projects all around the globe. Before St. Clare, I was actually with Not For Sale's cafe called Dignita. They were my initial connection to St. Clare, which made it even more significant for me to visit an overseas project run by the organization that changed my life. Going to the orphanage and seeing that the children were so excited to do activities with me made me so happy to be with them. They spoke to us (through a translator) about our presence and how it helped motivate them to stay strong, keep going, and live up to their dream. Their encouragements to us made me cry. Then they proceeded to gift each of us with a handmade bracelet. Knowing their circumstances, I was very moved. These children don't have a lot, but they were still so willing to give US something! Most of the kids at the orphanage had been involved prior with some form of drug or sex trafficking which is why I felt such a strong connection and care for them.
We are now looking forward to connecting these kids to the farmers one day in the future! This has the potential to be an amazing connection which may give the children similar opportunities I have had through coffee. I am truly blessed to have experienced Thailand and to have a great team like Saint Frank/St. Clare to share this experience with.
- Keeya Edwards (St. Clare Barista)
Words: Keeya Edwards
Photos: Michelle Park