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Sunday, August 1, 2010

El Salvador 2005 Journal XVIII Local Solutions

Local solutions.  The community we visited is a great story of success.  These people are members of what they call ‘a pastoral indigenous people’.  In this area, over 80% of the people are landless.  Interesting – these people are the original owners of the land and the majority remain disposed.  

In 1983, a small group of people in the Sonsonate area began to learn about co-ops.  They went to “United Hands”, a training centre for indigenous people in Mexico.  The delegation that returned asked the people – what do you want – they responded, “we need land for corn…” Prosperity would come with a return to the old ways.  As they would say, “the land belongs to those who love it.”  This was the motivation for the long road ahead.

The community worked with the help of groups like FUNPROCOOP and Caritas to develop the expertise in new areas like animal husbandry.  This was a real challenge for these people, they had no traditional knowledge in this area, but they accepted the challenge and after some early failures they now have a herd of 35 cattle.

The community now has 42 acres, purchased from a local landowner.  Each individual received ¾ of an acre for their own use.  They produce an unbelievable 
variety of products including cheese, whipped cream, cottage cheese, corn, beans, coriander, bananas and many other foods.  These people work with passion and dedication as they say, “we were born with a principal and the principal is that we are in solidarity with those (the landless) around us.”

Local women prepare the communal lunch for the teshicalt  we shared a meal with the community

                                                                            My lunch washed down with coconut milk.

Our tour guide picks a small yucca plant

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