“The doorway to the Amazon,” Caranavi, Bolivia lies beyond ‘Death Road’ high in the Andes. You’re in a land with culture pre-dating the Incan empire, where people still feel a deep connection to their ancient civilization and heritage.
When we landed in La Paz, Pedro Rodriguez picked us up and we rode with him into these ancient hills to Finca Kusillo. Here, he’s built his entire life around a vision guiding him to improve his region and country through coffee. Through a dogged pursuit of quality and sheer force of will, he stepped into a broken system and redirected the flow of Bolivian coffee. Through the last 50+ years most coffee from here was sold as commodity quality coffee going mostly to Chile, but he clawed his way into the specialty market in the US, Europe, and Asia.
After this 20 year uphill climb he didn’t stop to congratulate himself. Instead he put his fingers into that seam of hope and pulled it wide open for his neighbors. His program Sol de la Mañana now trains hundreds of other farmers on specialty practices, milling and exporting their coffee to these specialty markets for them. He’s an inspiration to us, and a reminder that a clear vision is bigger than your immediate circumstances.