After spending 3 nights in Santa Marta in a hostel, we found our new volunteering place near a small village called Minca in the hills of the Sierra Nevada. Reaching Minca by a "collectivo" (taxis - mostly vans - which you share with other people) we took a Mototaxi up the hill to the coffee farm "La Victoria". Quite hard to hold on with the backpacks and these "streets" which are cluttered with holes and stones.
Some interesting facts about the place: La Victoria is a coffee farm founded in 1892 by engineers from the UK. They imported all the necessary machines from the US and England and still using them. So all the machinenery was about 120 years old. It is the oldest coffee farm in Colombia. Now the owners of the farm are an older couple from Germany. Mickey and Claudia. Mickey took over the place from his parents after paramilitaries came to the farm and infiltrated it. Mickey went there on his own and got the coffee farm back just by arguing and discussing with the guerillas. That was back in 2001. Also special about the farm is, that almost all the energy, which they are using, is generated by water power of a machine that is also 120 years old and that all the coffee beans are carried by water through a complicated pipe system, which Mickey developed by himself. He had to think about something to reduce his costs, because he had no money, when he took over the farm.
When I came to Colombia, I thought, I would drink just good coffee from now on. But instead you just get very bad coffee. The reason is, that all the high class coffee is exported and just the last class stays in Colombia. We were very lucky to be at that coffee farm and to drink just the good coffee. Still missing it!
Besides the coffee farm there is a little brewery runned by a german guy and a little bistro runned by 3 guys from France, who also had a hostel up the hill, where we hanged out sometimes having some beers and amazing conversations with other volunteers and backpackers. The place was quite amazing with a view on the 30km far away city Santa Marta.
After arriving, Mickey and Claudia gave us a warm welcome. During our stay, they cared a lot about us and payed for everything. We felt very comfortable.
We worked as tourists guides, showed the people around and told them all about the coffee process and the history. I learned all about coffee, met so many people from all over the world, had pretty good conversations and made a lot of contacts. During our free time, we explored the plantation with its beautiful nature, its waterfalls, rivers, animals and jungle. We also went out for some beers in Minca with the guy from the brewery and an austrian guy, who makes some field tests in the plantation and had a bunch of projects in the region. The "beer guy" was quite drunk. He just broke up with his colombian girlfriend. Later at night he offered us, to stay at his house in Minca, because the way back to the coffee farm is about 6.5 km up the hill and we were very tired. So we jumped on his motorbike. 3 people on one bike and the driver was fucking drunk! Although he told us, he is a better driver while being drunk, we were still a bit scared. But it turned out to be quite a funny ride! The problem was: his exgirlfriend waited in front of his house and didn't wanted us to sleep there. After a long discussion in spanish, we had to walk back to the farm. Worst way home ever!
Besides working at the farm we hiked up to San Lorenzo and the Cerro Kennedy. This story will be told in another article... Coming soon!