Dear colleagues, today I’m back from my latest 2008 trip. I went to Honduras to visit one of our customers, as well as a good prospect and a first contact with a new potential customer… and of course a half day meeting with Alba Ochoa, the Progresso coffee fund representative (a fund by Rabobank, Doen and GDF of The Netherlands) in Honduras for the whole region. I had to dash over 1000 Km spreading the Shared Interest mission in Honduras. In Central America the rainy season has finally stopped and here they are now in full harvest season of coffee, sugar cane, growing melons and others. The region is being affected by the financial crisis with a restriction of the credit for production and a loss of jobs directly linked with exportations to the United States and Europe. Beside the economic crisis, this season is a happy season of Christmas celebration among the families. The people in their homes pray every day to celebrate the birth of Jesus, they share a cup of coffee and tamales, a traditional corn based dish in all Latin America, with friends and family. Even if some pigs had to die for the traditional sacrifice…people here celebrate the end of 2008 welcoming the coming New Year with parties and celebrations.
Sometimes my visits for Shared Interest really bring a breath of hope in some producers’ organizations, even if it is just a visit. Sometimes we see successful solidarity production models and organizations and sometimes we have to face some organizations falling in a vicious circle of dependence and loss of trust of their stakeholders. That’s how it is.
At the end of this year, I have to say I had stopped to look back and I see how much we had walked together, creating opportunities for Producer organizations, suffering under disadvantaged circumstances in Latin America. Maybe is quite selfish from my part but I´m learning every day in my position in Shared Interest. So, one of the things I have learned is to look at the future with hope and optimism, so, I would like to send you a message of hope: let’s face 2009 with the right attitude and hard work.
That will be my last message of the year. I need to take some rest and breath to keep standing on my feet doing what I like to do.
Best wishes for this holiday’s season and happy New Year.
- Hugo Villela
Click here to learn how you can invest in fair trade.
Click here to donate to the Shared Interest Foundation