Tell a story from your life, describing an experience that either demonstrates your character or helped to shape it.

Coffee. My beverage of choice, my trusted companion during long and lonesome nights, my stimulant and fountain of energy. Living in Honduras, I am surrounded by coffee, and yet, it is a crop that I knew very little about - until last summer, when I was hired by a local nonprofit to investigate coffee production in Lempira, a rural department of the country. Little did I know that this month-long assignment would not only teach me about coffee, but change my view of how we learn, and where we can find insights and understanding.

I was tasked with evaluating the success and adoption of sustainable farming techniques among coffee farmers. I approached my assignment with enthusiasm and curiosity, hoping mainly to complete my task. I was prepared for the discomforts of countryside life, but not the harsh realities I would encounter. My initial impressions of Honduran coffee came from the images found in the boutique coffee shops of Tegucigalpa. Photos display “typical” Honduran coffee farms, with smiling farmers in straw hats picking ripe beans from lush plants. For the duration of my work, I was stationed in a coffee producing town known as Candelaria. Francisco Herrera, a Candelaria native, grows coffee on a single acre plot in...

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