Vol. 17, No. 23, December 6, 2004
IN THIS ISSUE:
This Reveille Home Page | The Friday Program: The Costco Code of Ethics | Giving Tree Makes Out | Calendar Updates | Friday Potpourri | BBRC Railroad Runs on Time | Classification Talk: Carlos Aragon | Sergeant At Arms Celebrates Birthday | Of Caring and Coffee | Web Fun
Of Caring and Coffee
(Lifted from the pages of the Kirkland Courier, an article about our President-Elect, written by columnist Rod Graham)
In an agrarian economy if you dont own land, youre part of the have-nots, attorney and Agros activist Steve Lingenbrink said of the lives of the people of Xeucalvitz, Guatemala.
Xeucalvitz sounds like shoe-cull-veets. Before Steve intervened with the help of Agros, the 60 families of in the Guatemalan village were have-nots. Steve tells how these people, living paycheck to paycheck, have begun their journey to being among the haves.
Steve became involved with Xeucalvitz through his Rotary Club membership. Hes a partner in the downtown Kirkland law firm of Trudell, Bowen and Lingenbrink.
Agros is a United Nations, award-winning, poverty-breaking model. Agros helps villages purchase land. An Agros representative meets with landowners to negotiate land purchases. Agros then holds the title to the land until the villagers pay it off. This was Steves role in Xeucalvitz. He said the family he approached who owned the land was glad to sell it off.
After the land was purchased, the village farms it, selling the crops to make the payments. Agros provides people to help the village build homes and pathways, mange money and buy stoves, to name a few. Because the money is provided as a loan rather than a grant, the money continues to be available. So, as soon as a loan is paid off, the next village in line gets the money.
Its a complete program, Steve says. This takes less than $280,000. Less than the price of a small home on Rose Hill. This pays all the salaries of the counselors.
The village entrance was guarded by a menacing man holding a machete when Steve arrived. Through an interpreter he explained his visit, and was soon introduced to the village president. During the meeting, he discovered that the village council had developed a list of 20 items, included plans for women-based businesses and a bank. Steves next step was to meet with the landowners. At the meeting, Steve purchased 348 acres.
Xeucalvitz grows coffee at 7,000 feet above sea level. Coffee grows best at high altitudes. Atlas Coffee owner Craig Holt has rated Xeucalvitz-grown coffee so highly he promised to buy all they can grow.
Steve began his community service in 1992 after hearing Phil Smarts talk The Other Eight Hours. (Phil Smart owns the Mercedes dealership in Seattle. He insists that after sleeping eight hours and working eight hours, there is more to do than watch TV for the remaining eight hours. He encourages us to join community service. This was the impetus for Steve joining Rotary in 1992)
It is great to see his accomplishments over the years. I first met Steve in 1991. After joining Rotary, he became involved in a number of projects in the community. His most recent service is chairing the World Community Service committee of his Rotary club. Steve becomes club president in July, 2005.
How do you have the time to perform all this service while being club president and maintaining your law practice, I asked.
I will turn some of these things over to other people so I can maintain my Agros contact while Rotary president. It seems that the more stuff I add to my plate, the more time I have, Steve said.
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On a couple of related notes, Curtis Cummings and his 8-year-old daughter Ciara, as well as Steve Lingenbrink and his daughter Sarah, age 10, will be going to the village on February 18, 2005, for the land signing ceremony.
Also, the Gunnar Nordstrom Gallery open house is set for December 11. A portion of the sales will go to Steves work with Agros. Samples of this great tasting coffee will be available, too.
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