In El Salvadore, CDF loans allowed the co-operatives to expand their agricultural practices and encouraged youth involvement in the production, processing and packaging of new crops of high potential.
In 2006, twelve employees and one delegate from Gay Lea Foods travelled to El Salvadore to work at three of the co-operatives that were being sponsored. Pleased by our visit, co-op members were surprised to see that we were there to work alongside them in the fields and orchards. We met some wonderful young people with amazing spirit. This is one of their stories:
Sociedad Cooperative Productos de Marañón
Our group arrived at the youth cashew co-operative and sat with the manager of the co-operative at several picnic tables. He explained, through a translator, what they were doing, how they were operating and what the future looked like. At the end of the talk, he said “It was nice to meet you.”
When our group leader, Michael Barrett, realized the manager thought they were leaving, he piped up and explained, “No, we are here to work with you in the orchards or in the processing plant.” The co-op leader was shocked, as he replied, “Usually the visitors that come here, are on a “visata de tacones.”—a high-heels tour, meaning the didn’t go anywhere they couldn’t go with high heels!
The following year, the El Salvadorean manager met up again with Michael at the Canadian Co-operative Association annual conference. The two chatted away, each in their own language, until the translator once again helped out. When asked what the managers said, the translator said “He is here on the high-heels tour!”