For the past almost 9 years, my dad has had a second family. Yes, my mom knows about them. We all do. We hear stories about names and see photos filled with faces. He visits them every six months or so. My sister has met them. And now it is my turn. My oldest son, my husband and I are joining him in Chicontla, Mexico to meet our Mexican family.

Nine years ago, Chicontla was a village struggling, as many Mexican villages are, with poverty. Chicontla is a village dependent upon coffee farming for their livelihood. Floods, the devaluation of the peso, and other government involvement meant farming coffee was no longer providing enough to meet needs. Nine years ago, in Chicontla, like in many other Mexican villages, fathers were leaving their families to go find work to earn an income and provide for the same families they were forced to leave. Without the intact family and with the struggle that comes with living in poverty, nine years ago Chicontla was experiencing, like many other Mexican villages, high rates of teen pregnancy, high rates of suicide, and a general feeling of hopelessness.

Nine years ago, the vision was to arrive in Chicontla and buy their coffee, roast it and sell it in the United States. Upon arriving for the first time, it was pretty apparent the need was greater and deeper and more complex than just the buying and selling of coffee. Just as our bodies are inseparably linked to our souls, their physical poverty was inseparable from their spiritual malaise. So for nearly 9 years, it has been a mission of not going in and “saving” or “rescuing” a people, but empowering them. Learning, listening, loving, being. Much more of the story can be learned at Coffee Growing Community, but we’ve all come a long way in uniting on common ground.

I step out of the role of instructor and into a four month Sabbatical in order to learn more, grow more, and more literally I stepped onto a plane to spend a week in Chicontla, Mexico. So if this practice of yoga is about noticing without judgement, seeing with symbolic sight, uniting knowing we are all one under the same sun…may this week be filled with unceasing yoga.

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