I can’t imagine what we looked like to the tourists in their cars as they pass by.
To the other locals who knew the labor of picking coffee, they thought to themselves: better you than me.
We were dirty and tired, Tired, because we woke up at dawn to do this. Dirty, because I had dropped to my knees and picked from the low branches and sometimes the leaves got dusty and rubbed themselves clean against my sleeve and stomach cloth and shoulder cap. Frazzled also, because pulling a branch, another swung out and scraped a cheek and another had whipped through my hair. Rather than waste time untangling myself, I ripped the hair apart, leaving strands dangling from the beans.
Coming out of the fields, we still had baskets around our backs. That was the easiest way to carry them, still cinched around us. We carried our red hooks in our hands. They looked like walking canes, but they helped us to bring down tall branches. Their chains and triangle footholds rattles against the pavement. Dirty too, because we had sat on a dusty burlap bag or on the soil itself. Grimy patches on our backsides where we chose to lay in the shade to rest.
We came up the narrow road that ran alongside the field, and a car might slow down as if we were part of their sightseeing tour. Get a load of the locals, picking the Kona coffee that we’ll take load up on in our suitcases.