As many of you know, on Sunday June 3rd, Guatemala’s volcano named Fuego erupted twice in what would be later know as the largest eruption since the 1970’s. Although my wife and I were stateside at the time, we felt the love and concern from the coffee community as we received phone calls from roasters asking how Yepocapa was doing and if everyone was okay. Although Yepocapa is one of the more geographically close communities to Volcano Fuego, it has been seemingly unaffected by the volcano in comparison to other towns and areas like El Rodeo and Aloecatenango; which are located just east and south of Fuego. These areas experienced large amounts of lava flow, heavy ash, and the harmful volcanic fumes that collectively took the lives of over 109 people while still 200+ people are missing or unaccounted for. Authorities are still at work shoveling through the ash seeking to help in whatever way they can.
Although it has been a horrific time for many in Guatemala, it has also been a hopeful scene seeing many Guatemalans come together to help one another. Thousands of people have donated supplies or even volunteered to help rescue others at their own risk which has created a sense of unity that has been seen internationally.
I did want to give an update on Yepocapa though. Yepocapa experienced around an inch of overall ash fall during the eruption and I can imagine it has been raining small amounts of ash throughout these last few days as well. The farmers were a bit concerned initially about what the ash would do to their crops but people like Don Timoteo, the president of the local coffee cooperative, have already been out trimming their shade trees and brushing off their plants so that photosynthesis can continue. Additionally, Yepocapa has had a few rains since the eruption which has helped to wash away the ash and give plants that moisture they’ve been needing.
Overall, it seems like many Yepocapans are in good spirits. When I expected nothing but bad news, some farmers have even been unexpectedly sending us photos of their newly designed roasted coffee bags showing us what they’ve been proud of and excited about despite the seemingly gloomy backdrop.
Overall, thank you! Thank you for the concern that’s been expressed. To our knowledge, Yepocapa is doing okay but there are other areas that are still struggling. We’ve felt the love of many people these days which has made us recognize that coffee really is much more than just coffee. We’ve recognized as a coffee culture that our cups of coffee come from people that we care about in both big and small ways especially when events like this occur.
Here are a few photos that have been gathered from various farmers in Yepocapa: