The clouds gathered in an ominous mass skirting the surrounding mountains as I sped down the road leading away from Sacramento. My time was up in this tiny town but I will carry the memories with me always. As one of the two or three Americans that visit Sacramento every year, I was somewhat of a specimen to the people of this minute community. They even had me present an award at their ceremony to honor the top ten coffee growers in the district! If I didn’t always feel that I was helping with something, at least I always felt how much they appreciated having me there. I even found a couple people who spoke English after the first week and I was able to call on them in case of language barrier emergencies.
I rode horses, went to birthday parties, went to dinner parties, went fishing, and generally enjoyed my entire experience here in this coffee town. The day before I left, I was asked to be a guest at the school and allow the children to ask me questions about the U.S. I was happy to oblige but I found the experience to be somewhat different than I had expected. It was rather humbling to be so admired only because I was from a different country. A million wide eyes stared curiously at me and I felt the weight of every word that I spoke to them. They were loud and had many questions about the faraway place that I call home, inquiring about the weather and Christmas and what it looks like when it snows. I was a little overwhelmed by the questions and the blatant gawks that I encountered but the icing on the cake was the farewell that I received. As I said goodbye to all the children, they began to run up to give me goodbye hugs and before I knew it the entire school was standing in line to give me hugs. After about ten minutes of saying “tchau”, all of the children had gone to their classes and I was left sitting alone in the lunch pavilion to watch the chatty old ladies finish cleaning the floor.
The wind blew up a veritable dust storm and the dark clouds produced streaks of lightening that split the sky. Sirlei drove and chattered on about how great it was to have an English speaker come and learn about the coffee farms. I sat in the passenger seat, eyes brimming with tears, and felt rather melancholy as we headed towards the nearest town with a bus station. My time in Sacramento had come to an end, but I will never forget the people and the memories acquired there.
Here are some of those moments from Sacramento: