I’m in a job that involves international travel, meetings with all sorts of people, different languages and an ability to sweet talk myself in and out of any sort of difficult situation. I have to come up with thousands of dollars, change travel plans at the last minute, reassure, trouble shoot and organise. Now try and tell me that James Bond and I don’t have loads in common.
Ok, agreed, I wish I had his expense account, time and clothes allowance not forgetting a dry martini waiting for me every time I step out of the (cold) shower although he can keep the birds in the swimsuits, still, I think I could give him a run for his money in the nail biting stakes after the couple of weeks I’ve just had.
Following my last blog I thought I was pretty much on top of things, I never for one second thought that I was in control, but I reckoned I was managing. I delayed my flight by eight days so that I wouldn’t be stressing out in England about what was happening over here. I had also organised with the Dutch film guy to come up to Esteli on Monday so we could go on up to Miraflor together to film. I had even managed to take out a large lump sum of money from the bank to pay for the coffee (instead of lots of smaller withdrawals) and finally in my master plan I had checked with Marlon to make sure that it was ok to come up to Esteli on the Saturday to hand over the money so he could pay the farmers. Of course that would be fine, and I, briefly forgetting every lesson learnt here, believed him.
Of course it wasn’t fine, handing over $3000 to someone and asking them to take it on a bus, walk 6 miles and pay some farmers would not only be unfair it would also be stupid and irresponsible of me. That amount of money is two years salary here and if anyone knew that Marlon had the money the risk would be huge. No, I am not being melodramatic, although if you add into the mix that this was late Saturday night and I had to get the money up to Miraflor the next day by 7.30am or the coffee would leave the farm and be sold somewhere else – well borderline hysteria just about describes it…..
Fortunately my friends who I stay with in Esteli came to the rescue, they immediately called a friend of theirs who has a truck and he agreed (for $25) to pick me up at 6am to take me up to Miraflor. That has been the best £13 I have ever spent, we picked up Marlon and Mayra on the way there and drove to the farm, and there they were; sacks and sacks of coffee fairy coffee, it was incredible, we weighed it all, counted out the money and paid the farmers and still it kept coming, one of the farmers had heard I was at the farm and had turned up with more sacks of coffee strapped onto a horse. I was told stories of how much money it was saving the farmers because they didn’t need to transport the coffee by bus to the nearest town, nor did they lose an entire days work doing so, beat that Mr. Bond.
That was the first time I had come even slightly close to really seeing how the project could work, it wasn’t that I hadn’t believed in it up until then, it was that I hadn’t allowed myself to. It was a very lovely feeling.
But it was shortlived…..I mean come on, it was never going to be easy was it?