Blog: My time in Pluma

Hi everyone! This is Umi here.

I am writing this from Pluma Hidalgo – where we have our project! I have been here for the last 11 days. My purpose of the stay here was very simple. I just wanted to see the place and meet people. I was lucky enough to join The Lucy Foundation team last April as an intern. Ever since, I really wanted to see the real Pluma Hidalgo.

A bit about me

I am born with a condition called Osteogenesis Imperfecta which makes my bones fragile. I have had fractures 15 times, but it has not stopped me from travelling. When I travel, I take my manual wheelchair, which means that I need support from other people to go places. But because of that I get to spend more time with people. My time here in Pluma has been absolutely amazing.

The people of Pluma Hidalgo

As I heard it from Robbie, people here are little more reserved than people from other countries such as Colombia (which I visited prior to coming here). However, once you get to know them, the warmth you feel from people is beautiful. When we walk down the street to the centre of the village, everyone greets each other. Some people I met said it was the first time for them to meet a Japanese person (I am originally from Japan). Especially a Japanese person in a wheelchair I bet! It has been an honour to be able to show that it is possible to travel in a wheelchair.

It is usually a quiet and peaceful village, yet since it is closer to Christmas we have been having a lot of fiestas, which start at 10pm and continue until midnight! There are lots of music, dancing and delicious food. Even children stay up until midnight to enjoy with everyone.

I was always very curious about situations for people with disabilities in other countries, especially in remote areas. In this village it seems like even though they are not given as many opportunities, their dignity and freedom is respected to a certain degree.

Working together as a team

I absolutely love that people with disabilities in this community have became part of our program because they want to work on the coffee project. Juan who is deaf and mute, is now learning how to sign a little more so he can communicate with us more. I went with the guys involved in our project and Ryan, who is the field director, to one of the houses in the village to fix their door. Ryan taught the guys how to fix parts of the door.. It was very simple things, but being able to do things by ourselves was wonderful.

I know that because I have had to spend a lot of time not being able to get up from my bed. Things are moving maybe slow and steady with the project, but the trust we are building in the community is very firm. And I like that a lot.

I also learned what hard work it is to grow coffee. Despite being an intern in The Lucy Foundation, I did not drink too much coffee. However, seeing how coffee trees grow in beautiful forests and how touching it can be to harvest them deepens my love for coffee. Also, a surprise for me was that coffee is a very sweet and yummy fruit by itself!  

The people who lived in this area have lived here for the last 10,000 years, which is a time frame I cannot even imagine. I am very lucky to be here and absorb the energy and wisdom of people here directly.[:]

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Meet the farmers:

"They are the ones who work the land day after day under the sun. They are those who fertilise the sacred land with love and humility, which in gratitude returns them with coffee beans. They are our producers with whom we work hand in hand to recover ancestral knowledge." - Catalina (TLF Field Director, Mexico).

#PlumaHidalgo #CoffeeFarmers #AncestralKnowledge #OrganicCoffee
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2 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

A very happy birthday to our Master Carpenter, Klaus Elías. From all of the team in Mexico and Aotearoa, thank you for the dedication, patience, heart and soul you put into everything you do. We send you best wishes and a year filled with blessings and success. To read more about Elías, head to our website:

www.thelucyfoundation.com/team_member/elias-molina-arellanes/#more-10934

#Bamboo #carpentry #disabilityinclusion #disabilityemployment
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2 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

We love seeing your pics! Able Coffee Collaborative customer, Evan Clulee, sent us this photo of him enjoying his morning brew of TLF Pluma. Evan is a well known Kiwi para-athlete, who made his Paralympic debut in wheelchair racing at Barcelona in 1992 (breaking NZ records!). Like us, Evan is also passionate about equal employment opportunities for disabled people (and coffee of course). Thanks for your ongoing support Evan! Cheers!

Buy your disability inclusive coffee now: www.thelucyfoundation.com/help-us-out/

#paralympicsnz #disabilityemployment #disabilityinclusion #paraathlete #thebestcoffeeofalliscoffeeforall #AbleCoffeeCollaborative #thelucyfoundation Paralympics New Zealand

[Image description: Evan at home, holding a coffee mug. In front of him is a coffee bag branded TLF Pluma. Evan is contented, wears glasses and a blue hoodie with orange trim. He holds up a mug of coffee.]
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4 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

Good news... a couple of days ago TLF Director, Catalina, managed to leave the village and travel two hours to the coast to collect supplies for the families we partner with. Those are some happy faces! Still no reported cases of Covid-19 in Pluma Hidalgo, but locals continue to stay home, save lives, and sort coffee.

#Covid19Disability #covid19_drm #inclusion #disabilityemployment
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4 weeks ago

The Lucy Foundation

Thank you to everyone who supported our Mother’s Day colab with Downlights and Able Coffee Collaborative - we have now officially sold out!

Were you a recipient of a bundle? We would love to hear from you... share a photo of how you're enjoying your inclusive coffee and candle and we'll post it to our stories!

In other news, we've also just heard that Downlights have extended their equity crowdfunding campaign, so there's still time to become an investor in their amazing candle company!

#ThankYou #MothersDay #Coffee #Candles #DisabilityEmployment

[Image description: On the left is a small white box with gold lettering that says, "Downlights New Zealand bamboo and white lily". On the right is a bag of coffee with the TFL and Able logo with inclusive artwork featuring diverse people. The label reads, "Thank you for all you Brew for me, enjoy your Lucy Blend". In the background is a pink Moccamaster coffee machine.]
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