It's the summer of 2017, and Arturo and I have just finished a big meal...
Arturo and I picked up some meat and vegetables from the market earlier that morning before heading off to work. Anita and Roseangela, Arturo’s wife and daughter, cooked white rice, chicken, and the assortment of vegetables.
[They always laugh at me because all I ever want to eat is chicken and white rice. One time, after having stayed with Arturo for 2 weeks, he told me, “Shane, I’ve never eaten so much chicken in my entire life. Do you think we can have some beef tonight?”]
We all sat down and discussed the hardships and successes of the day while enjoying the meal. After about 30 minutes of conversation and indulging, Arturo and I delve into our normal routine.
We move over to the couch and continue conversing. Arturo tells me stories.
When he was young, Arturo always enjoyed art. It was not only a fun activity, but it was a way for him to express himself. Since he didn’t have the typical paper and pens, he began by taking a stem from bamboo plants, flattening it out, and carving in it with rocks. Eventually, he saved up enough money to get a small, hand-held soldering iron. He would design all sorts of different art works with the tool - from depictions of himself as a young boy to portraits of miners working vigorously in the mines.
As soon as he finishes telling me about his art career, he asks, “Shane, what are you going to do about Z Beans’ logo?” I sit and think for a minute before answering, as this is something I truly have yet to consider. I look at Arturo, puzzled...
In my near peripheral vision, hanging over Arturo’s right shoulder I see it. I see the logo.
I tell Arturo, as I point to the portrait on the wall, “That’s it.”
He looks at it - looks back at me - and smiles: “Really?”
From that day forward, I never thought twice about the decision. I knew it meant a lot to Arturo that his artwork would be the logo for the brand.. I remember when I had the Z Beans coffee bags printed in Ecuador, Arturo asked if he could keep some of them. He wanted to show them off to his friends around town..
As I walked out of his apartment for the final time during the summer of 2017, I saw the Z Beans Bag standing against the wall, underneath Arturo’s masterpiece. While some may rightfully see the logo as Z Beans uplifting the city of Zaruma, I will forever see the logo differently.
To me, it symbolizes opportunity. An opportunity for a new day - an opportunity to unite - an opportunity to make a difference.