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Cacao beans | Ceremonial cacao | Guatemala

Labor of Love: a Chronicle of a Cacao Delivery

Writer and content creator for Keith's Cacao, Mariana Piñeros, reporting from the magical San Marcos la Laguna, Guatemala.

I have seen tons of coffee deliveries back at home in Colombia. There is nothing extraordinary about them. So when Keith asked me to stick around to document the delivery of the new batch of cacao beans, I wasn't sure why. But I know not to argue with the Cacao shaman, for I have seen how he knows and sees things that others don't, so I trusted he had his reasons. And I am grateful that I did! For I would have otherwise never experienced the actual magic, the hard work, the team effort, and the true love with which Keith's Cacao is so lavishly infused.

The Plan and the Challenge

Have you heard of the old saying, "When people make plans, God laughs?" It's Monday, January 24. Keith's Cacao taller (workshop space) is bustling in anticipation. A total of 400 sacks of cacao beans are scheduled to be delivered at 7 am Tuesday. But the Guatemalan Transportation Association has other plans! It is staging a nationwide protest against government policies by establishing roadblocks at various locations throughout the country. Demonstrators intend to block traffic until the Government drops the requirement for them to purchase insurance. I hear Andrés, Keith's Cacao Guatemala General Manager, talking on the phone about the next day's delivery. "Do you think you are going to be able to make it?" he asks. There is a long silence, followed by a reluctant, "Okay then, we will be waiting for you at 7, at the taller." Getting 400 sacks of Cacao beans delivered to San Marcos during a national strike with all of Guatemala's main roads blocked? That is not just a challenge; it's mission impossible! 

Blocks and Barriers

On Tuesday, January 25, Andrés' phone rang at 6 in the morning. I admit I was not surprised to be informed that the delivery would not happen at 7. Even though the trucks had left at 2 am, they got stuck between two roadblocks, and there was no way of telling what time they would make it to San Marcos. So we just had to wait; wait, wait, and wait. In the early afternoon, the workers were sent home. They had been waiting around for the delivery for more than 8 hours. The bodega was clean and ready. Everything was in order except for the order itself! The workers agreed to be on standby and come back to the taller to help unload the sacks - in case the delivery did miraculously arrive.

And lo and behold, news came in at 7 pm. The trucks made it through the roadblocks and would be arriving in San Marcos in two hours. The ball was rolling again. It was getting dark, so Keith and Barbara got to setting up some special lights around the taller bodega and along the road. Rosalinda, the taller supervisor, called everyone and asked them to be at the tallerby 8:30. Andrés, Gise, and I went looking for pizza and some Cola. There were 9 guys in the cacao trucks, exhausted and starved, and another 9 people at the taller working late hours. The least we could do was feed them.

The hour came and went, but there was no sign of the Cacao trucks. Then, a call came in. A fallen tree had blocked their way, hence the new delay. They had to move it off the road themselves! It was now done; they were on their way. Finally, right? But no, wait, here comes another call. The police are not letting big trucks drive on the freshly renovated -and only- road that leads to San Marcos! They are only allowing smaller pick-up trucks on the road. That means that the only way for our Cacao to be delivered would be to transfer the sacks onto pick-ups and make 20 round trips to bring the entire order to the taller! Oh, and there is a massive line of cars on the road; and approximately 15 minutes waiting time on each side; and the road will be completely closed off at 12 midnight! 

Go to Glow

There was no way for the entire order of Cacao beans to arrive at the taller that day. Nobody knew what to do. We only knew that the men on those trucks had been on the road for more than 20 hours and that the people at the taller  were exhausted from waiting. 

Then Keith said: "Go to glow!" If you have been around for some time, then you probably know the magic of Keith's Go to Glow Meditation - the fastest, easiest way to raise your resonance and shift the reality around you! 

So we did! And as we began to allow the smile in our hearts to fill our bodies and overflow out into the world, the news came in: the police had agreed to let the big trucks drive the road to San Marcos!

A Synchronized Symphony

When the trucks finally arrived at the taller, it was 11 pm. They were huge and loaded! How on earth would all these sacks fit into the taller was beyond me. But more than anything, what was truly beyond and absolutely amazing for me was the commitment, the zest, the fervor, and the coordinated teamwork of the people making this delivery happen. 

Within an hour and a half, everything was in place. Two men stayed on the truck, loading the sacks on the backs of seven other men who carried them inside. Another two men were charged with piling the sacks up in the bodega. There were two women counting every single sack carried in, helping keep track of the work done. It was a well-orchestrated symphony of rhythmic steps in perfect synch with the sound of the cacao sacks being stacked in the bodega. The voices of the women counting aloud and the man cheering each other up was the melody. Mesmerizing and astounding.

A Promise and a Blessing

The work was done by 12:30 am. Everyone was exhausted. Every single man had carried some 60 sacks of Cacao beans on his back. All in no more than 90 minutes! The trucks were able to leave San Marcos and drive back with no further inconvenience. And everything was quiet again.

That night, at 1 am, as I was walking home with Andrés, I thought of the great master Thich Nhat Hanh and his insistence on the importance of recognizing all of the work involved in the food we eat. The sunlight, the rain, and the soil that help it grow. The labor of the people that cultivate, tend and gather it, and of the ones that drive the trucks that deliver it. 

I made a promise that night; that I would never drink Cacao again without acknowledging and expressing gratitude for the labor of the people involved in delivering the Cacao beans to Keith's workshop. Without blessing Guatemala, its fight for social justice, and its roads. Without blessing our workers at the taller and without blessing the talleritself. For there lays the Cacao that opens my heart and brings on my magic. 

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