"Expectations surpassed"

Early March, a delegation of Collibri Foundation and Burundian coffee farmers travelled to Colombia. For a week, they discovered the coffee culture and our education projects over there. Read the report of this unique trip.

"We met each other as complete strangers and parted as good friends." Ambassadors Jonas (Burundi) and Kris (Colombia) joined the party and witnessed how coffee farmers from two different continents became friends.

Concrete projects

"As an ambassador, this trip was my first acquaintance with the Burundian coffee farmers", says Jonas. "Before we left, I studied the current chain and education projects in Burundi a last time, but it remained very theoretical. It was only during our talks that everything became more concrete to me." Dorien experienced the same thing. She represented our partner EFICO foundation during the immersion trip. "You read the reports of our three projects. After a while, you start to recognise the faces of pupils, teachers and coffee farmers, but it is very different when you actually meet everyone on location."

Coffee exchange

This trip was an excellent occasion to amass knowledge, exchange experiences and be inspired. "We attended a lesson at the Florentino González school on how to calculate the optimal yield of a coffee plantation by means of Excel and Google Earth", says ambassador Kris. "A striking example of how coffee was the main theme of the trip. It was also clear that the Colombian and Burundian coffee farmers are real soulmates. And they are very interested in each other's approach." Ambassador Jonas: "The Burundians were extremely inquisitive and shot one question after another. From the talks I could understand that they are going to turn this inspiration into realisations. During the bus rides to the next location, concrete plans were even made."

Inspiration for education

Another traveller in the party of twelve was Edith of the King Baudouin Foundation. "The two Burundians in charge of training could see how the Colombians worked to keep young people from leaving the countryside. And how to motivate them to work in the coffee chain. For the Colombians, it was interesting to hear that their future is looking quite good. Thet were proud to show how they work." Ambassador Kris adds: "I have seen that Collibri Foundation's support is a real added value for the Colombians. And they use this support for 100%. The computers for example are used during daytime lessons, but after school adults can also take training courses. They handle it in a very structured way and they really want to make progress."

"A unique experience"

During the trip, the delegation got a lot of impressions but the main feeling was gratitude. "I believe in Collibri Foundation even more now. It is an experience I will never forget", says Kris. Jonas also learned a lot during the immersion trip. "Not just about coffee, but also about life. I learned a lot about myself. That is why I am so grateful I could experience this unique trip." Edith concludes: "you really felt how everyone enjoyed this valuable exchange."

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