By Judy-Anne Goldman, CFCA multimedia manager/producer
Juana, the mother of two CFCA sponsored children, cleans scallions, also known as spring onions, for 8 hours a day, three days a week in a small town in Guatemala.
Does she get tired of onions after all that time? “No!” Juana said. Her appreciation only grows. “Our onions are good. People in other towns and countries come to buy them. You should try them grilled,” she suggested. “It will make your mouth water!”
From left: Lucia, Zoila, Ramos and Juana start their work day at 8 a.m. and finish at 5 p.m., peeling spring onions that are a delicious part of local meals. Lucia and Juana are mothers of CFCA sponsored children, Zoila is sponsored through CFCA, and Ramos is a former sponsored child.
In San Antonio, Guatemala, scallions are a main source of income. The hollow leaves and thin bulbs offer a mild onion flavor used in cooking or eaten, grilled, as a side dish.
The scallion plants, grown in a terraced pattern, provide income and food, but the growth also helps prevent erosion on hillsides prone to deadly mudslides.
Juana sits with her daughters and neighbors as they peel bundles of spring onions for 8 hours, three days every week. On the days when they are not peeling onions, the women make woven bracelets to sell to gift shops. They make the same amount of income each day, whether cleaning onions or weaving bracelets.
Youth and adults help clean scallions. Zoila, who is sponsored through CFCA, sits in the doorway, facing the street’s activity and a gorgeous view of Lake Atitlan.
A man carries a bundle of harvested spring onions.
When the scallions are cleaned, Juana, her daughters and friends finish off each parcel with a beautiful organic tie.