The Power of Pineapple Pastries: After Outward Migration, Women of Adelante Piece Their Community Back Together
Countless communities in Honduras have been devastated by the great outward migration over the course of this year. Odilia’s community has such witnessed drastic changes with the migration of many neighbors to various regions of the US. Community members from a former solidarity group abandoned their homes for the States, leaving outstanding debt in their path. The remaining women were burdened with this debt in the midst of paying off their own loans. How could they afford to cover these payments? Would they be able to continue on with their assembly?
The women understood the imperative to stick together for the sake of their businesses, their families, and the welfare of their village. Determined, the enduring members banded together with neighboring groups who had faced the same dilemma. With the support of their Adelante credit officer, Odilia and her group resolved to start a project to bring in extra wages in addition to their own preexisting businesses. They would all make and sell a special Honduran treat: pasteles de piña, or pineapple pastries. The women began baking and selling the pastries throughout their community. They worked at this group task on top of the hard hours dedicated to their individual businesses, employing their new culinary skills and taking turns selling their product. Gradually they began to see their efforts pay off, and with their sweet success have been able to cover their debts.
Through their teamwork, the women could now stabilize their loans. However, they were still wary of accepting new members again. Odilia, who had remained tried and true to Adelante, advocated for a new Solidarity Group member. She introduced Elena, an energetic mother of three and an industrious entrepreneur, to the group. Elena had demonstrated her dependability in the village with a variety of enterprising endeavors ranging from traditional healing to clothing and beauty product sales. “I am always making some kind of money,” she assured me. Ana, the assembly president, saw potential in the resilient entrepreneur.
Elena and Odilia connect after Elena’s first Adelante assembly.
When Elena joined, she requested a loan of $230. The group, still shaken from previous negligence, discussed the request carefully among each other and collectively decided to reduce her loan amount. Odilia, Ana, and other group leaders further explained Adelante’s solidarity methodology to her, that while she may be starting with a lower amount this time around, she will be able to opt for a larger loan in the future as long as she pays off her loan responsibly and properly manages her businesses. Elena’s initial disappointment was quickly replaced by her motivation to succeed with her business and in her group. My visit fell on the day she received her first loan of $140, and as she sat amongst her new group, she beamed with pride. It was no easy task being admitted, but she was determined to prove herself and her entrepreneurial spirit to her group.
After facing devastation in the past, Odilia, Ana, and the entire group of enterprising women have created a strong network of support for one another. Elena is excited to be a part of this inspiring assembly, and to contribute to positive change in her community. In her own way she has inspired the women in her group to trust again, and find hope for future growth. Elena looks forward to mastering the art of pineapple pastries, while she and her newly rejuvenated group uphold the spirit of unity and growth in their community.