Representatives from our partner organization in Honduras, CEPUDO, picked us up at the airport and were thrilled to tell us we were immediately going to visit a new project. CEPUDO President Linda wanted to surprise us, so she kept us in suspense for the entire ride.
A few hours outside of San Pedro Sula, we arrived at our destination where the surprise was revealed. As we walked onto an open field, a pungent smell greeted us and we stared in amazement at a stunning mountain of green and red – hundreds of jalapeño peppers! The new project was a thriving pepper-growing cooperative.
A small assembly line of workers was busy packing and sorting peppers freshly picked from the field and prepping them for sale at the local market. The hard-working families sang while they worked. A small afternoon rainstorm did not deter their spirit and concentrated effort.
As I photographed the workers from different angles, trying to convey the volume and scope of the activities, my eyes burned and my mouth watered.
The foreman, Raul, enthusiastically showed us around the farm where bright green plants yielded plump peppers in bunches and explained the steps of harvesting and packaging we were witnessing. The third-generation farmer, who displayed a vast knowledge of peppers, was immensely proud of the impressive jalapeño crop yield and the value of the coop to the families in the community.
Peppers are the most productive income-generating source to benefit this community in a long time, and the families we spoke with were grateful to CEPUDO and generous Food For The Poor donors who provided the tools and resources to make it a success.