What are they smoking in Nicaragua?

Every morning in Esteli, Nicaragua, a siren goes off at 6am, calling hundreds of factory workers to start their day, making some of the finest cigars in the world.

Juan Carlos is a Kiva borrower. He grows tobacco for making cigars.

First, the tobacco leaves are fluffed during drying to release heat and moisture.

Then, the leaves are flattened, cleaned, and misted to make them malleable.

Next, the leaves are rolled into a cigar by hand.

The cigars are checked on the "Drawmaster" which is a vacuum, that tests ease of inhalation.

There are over 40 types of cigars, "Torpedoes" being the most formidable, in my opinion.

Cigars are sorted by size, color, and quality.

Boxes are made. Cedar-lined being the best.

The finished product.

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-Karen Gray, Kiva Fellow 14, in Nicaragua

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