Druschel said she stayed with hosts in a four-home compound with women who said their homes are now safe and didn’t leak. Before, due to poverty, families pulled their children out of school around the sixth grade to help pick cocoa. But now children stay in school and many have gone onto college, Druschel said.
“Another thing fair trade brings is leisure time,” she said, showing a slide of a family dancing in their home.
Something else that stood out to Druschel was the effects of women’s cooperatives. Villages have been greatly improved because women tend to invest money back into schools and the community, she said.
“It is life changing in a culture when women make money,” she said.
Among the group’s travels were stops in La Esperanza to visit coffee farms and Cooprobata, a fair trade banana cooperative. Fair trade for the banana farmers has resulted in literacy campaigns for adults and campaigns against child labor, she said.
Druschel said she hopes the students would take the faces and stories they saw Wednesday and share them with their parents. Tell them that Cub West and the St. Peter Food Co-op have fair trade organic bananas, she said, which will only cost about a dollar more than non-fair trade.
“Go home and talk it up,” she said.