The group ascended to Langa a few days ago from our mid-course site on the coast in Riung, and we are already settling into our second homestay. In the highlands, coffee is a main source of income and an essential part of people’s lives.
For most of Flores the primary coffee season has ended. Up here in Bajawa, in a village at about 1,500 masl, the odd berries are still collected from time to time to be processed and sorted in the company of the ancestors. These leftovers of the season are far from ideal, but they are the fuel for life here. They end up in small glass mugs—a strong, heavy, sweet brew—shared with family while listening to the orchestra of dog barks, pig mumbles, rooster crows, and bamboo rustle that marks the start of the day. It is shared with friends and neighbors long into the night, until the soft call of owls announce the time to sleep.
Here we learn what it is to be coffee drinkers, and we learn what it is to be coffee farmers.