Not only do we bear witness to, but we also reap the rewards (through multiple taste test opportunities) of the women cooperativos who have learned through workshops to prepare nutritious foods for school breakfast programs to reduce malnutrition, and, more recently as a means of income through the establishment of small businesses.
Live music plays and traditional dance ensues as beaming women proudly present for us breads, cakes, marmelades, and fresh fruit juices made from every fruit, nut, and root vegetable known to the jungle.
Five community processing centers, new two-room red brick structures, carve out space among the fruit-bearing trees between communities. They are equipped with workshop space, running water, food processing equipment and enough counter space to be the envy of any gourmet kitchen. They serve as the location of the community gatherings we attend to meet women providers and sample, at their insistence, the delicious and nutritious fruits of their labour.
For the first time, women have a place of their own to gather outside their homes. A place to transform the jungle’s bounty. A place to share. To create. To commiserate. And sometimes, so we hear through giggles and shy smiles, a place to talk about men!