Yesterday, we heard the news that Don Heleodoro de Jesús Villatoro Lopez, the founder of Finca La Esperanza, passed away this weekend. Our condolences go to his family and friends, especially his wife Helena de Jesús Castillo Rosinos and their twelve children.
Don Heleodoro has inspired many of us at Seattle Coffee Works. We admire his far-reaching vision, unwavering work ethic, overriding sense of fairness, devotion to community, and gift for bringing people together.
A Man of the World
When our green coffee team, Sebastian Simsch and Oscar Garcia, first met him, Don Heleodoro asked where they came from. Upon learning they came from Antigua (Guatemala) and Seattle (US), he exclaimed, “I know Seattle! That’s the city close to Alaska, an important city.” He proceeded to explain why Seattle is important, including references to Boeing and Microsoft. Even in a small farming village in a remote pocket of Guatemala, with virtually no Internet access and very limited electricity, he was a person who was knowledgeable, curious, and interested in the world.
He also knew a LOT about growing coffee, and building a successful farm and family business that shares knowledge and resources for the betterment of their neighbors and community. Among his many accomplishments, Don Heleodoro organized the resources to build a road connecting the village of Hoja Blanca with the nearest paved road. This made it possible to bring produce to market, because storms and landslides had obliterated the only other road to the village. Now, 2,000 people rely on this road to connect them to the rest of Guatemala and the world.
A Man of Integrity
Learn more about Don Heleodoro and his family’s story here.
Note: we have been featuring Finca La Esperanza coffees throughout the month of October. Photos from the farm are on display at our new Capitol Hill location, 907 E. Pike Street.