COVID-19 in Guatemala
It’s been over 6 months since the world first learned about COVID-19 and many countries have kickstarted day-to-day activities as the spread of the virus appears to be slowing down.
However, the reality in Guatemala is completely different. As I write this, there are almost 24,000 confirmed cases and nearly 1000 deaths in Guatemala; making us the most affected country in Central America.
In response to this, the government has enforced a strict curfew for almost four months, restricted interregional transit, and enacted a country-wide quarantine. That means that people across the country are unable to go to work or carry out any of their day-to-day activities.
The local coffee market has not been an exception to those industries affected by these regulations. Producers are struggling to take their coffees to mills for processing and to the harbor for export. Even if they manage to safely move their coffee, the worldwide impact of the virus has led buyers and roasters to back down from further purchases until the situation normalizes, creating a massive crash in the global market.
Our German-based operations moved to Guatemala at the beginning of the year so we could be closer to origin, which has allowed us to experience this entire crisis first-hand with our producing partners.
In the spirit of transparency, we’d like to tell you that the situation is becoming more critical every day. Rural Guatemala’s lack of infrastructure, water and electricity supply, safe shelter and poor hygienic conditions make life quite difficult for people in at-risk communities. Adding on to that, almost 60% of people in Guatemala live day-to-day as poorly paid laborers, street vendors or in handicraft jobs, with thousands living on less than one dollar per day. With these communities’ socio-economic conditions topping the government’s restrictions and sudden economic break, even this meager income has disappeared for most people, leaving them vulnerable and lacking their most basic needs.
The future is uncertain as there is still no cure for the pandemic and national healthcare systems continue to collapse due to the increasing cases of COVID-19. Many people in our industry are getting desperate. The current situation won’t allow producers to hire the same amount of people as gathering too many workers in the same place can make the outbreak worse. To top it off, the country’s local, interregional and international transit restrictions and legislation make it extremely hard for producers to get their coffees to port and shipped to international markets. This will not only present a drop in the export of specialty coffees, but people whose livelihood relies on coffee production and handling will be left unemployed.
Even if governmental regulations relax in the coming weeks, coffee transport will still be hindered as people continue avoiding regular activities to avoid being exposed to the virus.
All of this uncertainty has led entire families to the street carrying white flags as a sign of hunger and help. These flags may be a sign of desperation and hunger, but we’d like to think of it as a symbol of solidarity and the perfect opportunity for the coffee community to come together to support those in need.
How White Flag Coffee Came To Life
At Meet Los Amigos we have been constantly looking for the best way to impact and help our most vulnerable communities, which led us to a hopefully useful solution.
Along with our partner, Teodoro Engelhardt from Finca La Bella, we are proud to introduce to you White Flag Coffee! Our White Flag Coffee community blend is made out of Teodoro’s coffee, which we are bringing to Europe in July. This coffee tastes like a fresh caramel-fudge-chocolate-cake, with a full body, creamy caramel flavors, fine notes of chocolate and a gentle fruity headnote. For us, this is the taste of feeling secure, being at home, and being together with friends; which makes it the perfect blend to give back to our fellow Guatemalans. 100% of the profits will go straight to the communities in the form of food, medicine and hygiene products.
As a German company, we were able to count on the support of our government, family and friends, as well as business partners; which gives us the perfect opportunity to provide the same support to those in need. By working with organizations such as Colectivo Comunitario we will be able to reach Guatemala’s most vulnerable and most affected communities.
Colectivo Comunitario is a non-profit organization in Guatemala made up of a team of young, dedicated adults, teachers, social workers, and graphic designers with the desire to contribute to society. This amazing group of people will be helping us reach out to these communities to provide them with their own custom care packages that fit each family’s needs for food, specific medicines or items such as diapers, wet wipes, and other personal care essentials.
Aside from our incredible partners on the ground in Guatemala, we love to see how our international community is getting involved.
Coming Together for Guatemala
First and foremost, we’d like to thank our roasting partners in Europe for their support and dedication to the health and sustainability of our Guatemalan communities. White Flag Coffee will be available for purchase at:
- Friedl Rösterei & Kekse
- Mr. Hoban’s Coffee Roastery
- Blend Coffee Roastery
- Röstwerk Pfalz
- WeinCafe Kostbar
Additionally, our friends Nadine Ginzel, Tanja Söllner, Maya Yazdani, Nico Feldmann and Astrid Narain hosted an online Zumba workout to raise funds for White Flag Coffee – it was such a success!
Adding on to this incredible initiative, an amazing group of website and graphic designers has come together to create the White Flag Coffee website, logo and merchandise collection, whose profits will be donated directly to the communities in need.
Additionally, we’d like to thank Santiago Billy for his photography, our friends Anthony Pfriem for translating texts, Paul Dolega for his video production and Fernando Pocasangre for managing our Facebook and Instagram profiles!
This wouldn’t be possible without the support from our international and local community!
What Happens With The Profits For White Flag Coffee?
100% of the profits from the sale of White Flag Coffee goes to aid organizations here in Guatemala and is evenly distributed among our partners.
- 3€ = 1 day of food for a family of six
- 30€ = 2 weeks of food for a family of six
- 35€ = 2 weeks of food, diapers, and wet towels for infants
- 60€ = 1 month of food for a family of six
Looking forward to getting involved? We have great opportunities to do so!
- Become a roasting partner by buying our White Flag Coffee Community Blend from Finca La Bella
- Donate directly to Colectivo Comunitario
- Purchase your favorite piece of merchandise
- Share the initiative on your social media under the hashtag #WhiteFlagCoffee
- Purchase our community blend from one of our partners
- PARTNER WITH US!