She’s the Boss: Celebrating Honduran Women’s Day with Elena of Adelante
Elena has a laugh so positively joyful that it is impossible not to join in. Her humor and immense spirit has allowed her to improve upon her business skills and provide for her family. Elena began with Adelante in 2009, when she started a small lunch stand near her village’s soccer field. With Adelante funds, she began to invest in chickens for eggs and meat. Elena has a natural knack for combining flavors and loves to cook. This has become evident to her customers, who have grown substantially over the past six years. Two years ago, she was able to open her business from her home, and her customers happily followed.
“They know my food; they just followed the smell of my cooking,” she chuckled. Her kitchen filled with the rich scents of soups and homemade tortillas. Yolanda, a fellow Adelante member assured me that she makes the best platos tipicos, or traditional Honduran dishes, in the department of Atlántida.
Elena has four children and a husband who is currently out of work. “I’m the boss of the house,” she states proudly. “I am a woman of action, I do it all. I don’t sit down all day.” She is always striving to improve upon her business and please her customers.
Elena has a vision for her business. “I can see it now,” she says walking out to the yard at the side of her home. She paints the picture of where her champa, or thatched palm roof structure, will be. She wants to open up an eatery in the champa to seat her customers for meals. She smiles as she envisions hammocks hanging in the champa, offering a place to relax. Here she would host barbecues for her family and her community.
The women of Elena’s community already know that she is an excellent host. Twice a month she welcomes the women of her Adelante assembly to hold their meetings on her porch, creating a safe space to learn from each other, from Sulma (their Adelante credit officer), and to share their goals for their work. Though these women have all faced hardship in their lives, they cannot help but feel inspired by Elena’s energy, or stop themselves from joining in her contagious laughter.
Some day soon, Elena hopes to hold the meetings in the hammocks under the champa. She laughs, saying they can’t get too comfortable, though. “If we fall asleep we will miss out on the lesson that Sulma gives us! We learn with these talks… they help us get ahead.”
This Honduran Women’s Day, Elena is gathering with other strong women of her community. Though her champa has not yet come to fruition, she shelters the people in her life with her warmth and hopes for even better days to come.