LOOKING BACK: 2020 RECAP

Before we charge full-steam ahead into this year, we want to look back. All things considered, 2020 was miraculous. This may seem an inappropriate, or even crass description of a year that was hard on many levels, but I invite you to think about this year from the perspective of one of our Horizon children.

Johan dreamed of having a home. When he tragically lost his birth mother at a young age, Johan was found alone and in need of a family. When he arrived at La Providencia for the first time in September, this 8-year-old’s prayer finally became his reality. Johan will look back on this year and remember love. He will remember meeting his new mother and father, who joyfully take care of and love him, for the first time. In fact, we rejoice in saying that 2020 was the year that every child in our Latin American communities was placed with a mother and father couple. This is a huge step toward Family First: our belief that children thrive in families, and in light of that, our desire to place every child in a loving, healthy family home.

This year brought several advancements outside the home, too. Thanks to some generous donations, we’ve received funding to put in several sports fields at both La Providencia (Honduras) and Maono Light (Kenya) communities — and they’re nearly complete! We’re pretty excited to see and hear about all the soccer tournaments and volleyball games that go down on these courts, as sports are a consistent way the children get exercise, bond and learn a little healthy competition :).

We also installed a water reservoir in Honduras last summer. This reservoir is vital for a reliable harvest and income during Honduras’ often drought-filled summers — it guarantees a water supply for up to 2 months. Coffee and vegetable plantations will benefit most from the reservoir, and we project a 45% increase in agricultural production in 2021! Even shortly after installation, farmers noted an increase in last summer’s produce harvest.

“Approximately 7000 plants grow in the three-acre lot, and production is set to increase from 1600 pounds last year to more than 3000 this year!”

Coffee cherries ripening on the plant.

The beans growing around them are rather large, though the plants are shorter than other varieties. They’re called Lempira, a variety native to the Lempira region of Honduras, which the Honduran Coffee Institute created. Marvin says the Lempira is a noble bean, resistant to different illnesses plaguing coffee plants. “Of course,” he says, “this depends on proper fertilization.”

Altitude is another major factor in the beans’ development. “La Providencia is situated between 1300-1400 meters above sea level, which means the beans can take a bit longer to ripen,” he says. Higher altitude also equals higher humidity, which can mean an increased chance of illness. The soil in the coffee farm is suited to forests, as is evident by the pine trees dotting the landscape between coffee plants. “Where there are pine trees, there is highly acidic soil. We have had to work the soil with materials that help lower the acidity of the soil,” Marvin says.

“La Providencia is situated between 1300-1400 meters above sea level, which means the beans can take a bit longer to ripen,”

Honduran beans arriving at Square One Coffee.
Honduran beans arriving at Square One Coffee.
Marvin runs the operations on our coffee farm.
Marvin runs the operations on our coffee farm.
Hulled beans, ready for drying.
Hulled beans, ready for drying.

But — and this is the crucial part — altitude challenges don’t affect the beans’ flavor. “This cup of coffee has a moderate flavor profile,” Marvin says. And as for how he drinks it? “Just black without much sugar. I like it a bit strong…bitter. That’s how we drink it.”