What it’s like to spend a day with the MMC field team
Coming to work with MMC as a city girl I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when it came to spending a day with our field officers. The MMC field team is made up of three hard-working guys, Gabriel, Emeterio, and Herminio, each with their own zone.
Whitney (the Frontier Market Scout) and I spent our first day in the field with Gabriel and his pruning team. We hiked 30 minutes to get to the farm, which was my first lesson. If you’re lucky you get a farm that boarders the village, but most farmers have a long hike to and from their farm everyday (luckily they have the most stunning views like below).
We spent about an hour at the farm with Gabriel learning how pruning of cacao trees should be done and how the trees actually produce the cacao fruit and that the flowers and later fruit grow straight from the branches and trunk. Well pruned trees produce more cacao and because they are lower to the ground are easier and safer to harvest. Each field team member manages a pruning team (or several) during the off-season to get farmers’ trees in the best shape possible for the next season. It’s a busy time of year for them and requires a lot of organization and planning.
Another day we went out with field officer, Emeterio, and Kiva coordinator, Anna, in the village of San Jose, which has some of the most fantastic views around (in my opinion). We were visiting farmers to check in with them, make sure their farms were in good shape for the upcoming season, see if there was anything they needed from MMC, and collect Kiva loan payments. In that one day, we visited 33 farmers - no small feat and yet something Emeterio does everyday. With all the hills we climbed, I think he has the healthiest heart of anyone I know.
I must say that my favorite part of visiting Mayan villages is getting to spend some time with the farmers and their families, eat some traditional food, learn a few words in the Kekchi or Mopan Maya languages, and exposure to a new culture and way of life. If you ever find yourself in Belize visiting MMC you should get out to the villages and learn how MMC operates at the farm level. You’ll learn some new things, eat some great food, get some exercise and get exposed to a way of life that most people from developed countries never see. You won’t even miss not being able to use your iphone.
I’ll miss my time in Belize, but it’s an experience I’ll treasure forever.
by Kerri Murphy, 2013 Impact Consultant