VILLA LOYOLA, Chachagui, Colombia, 1 July 2016 — On our last working day in Colombia, Camila DeChalus interviews Jesuit priest Father Joe at the coffee plantation known as Villa Loyola. Fr. Joe is renowned for his work with the poor in this coffee-producing region of Colombia. We came to call Villa Loyola “the laboratory” of coffee farming in the region. This is where Father Joe oversees new techniques and technologies to help coffee farmers confront and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
I was on assignment for American University’s Center for Latin American and Latino Studies (CLALS) to assist Camila DeChalus, who won one of this year’s AU-Pulitzer Center International Reporting Fellowships. She is working on a film about how Colombian coffee growers, with the assistance of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and its Catholic church affiliates, are coping with the impacts of climate change. The church here is deeply involved in this work, and Father Joe is a leader in that endeavor.
(Photos by Bill Gentile)