Feb 15 2013

A day in the life: Preparing spring onions in Guatemala

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.

Preparing spring onions with CFCA 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!”

Women in Guatemala prepare spring onions

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.

Spring onions in Guatemala

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.

Growing spring onions in Guatemala

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.

Woman in Guatemala with spring onions

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.

CFCA sponsored youth in Guatemala with spring onions

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.

Man carrying bundle in Guatemala

A man carries a bundle of harvested spring onions.

Tieing spring onions in Guatemala

When the scallions are cleaned, Juana, her daughters and friends finish off each parcel with a beautiful organic tie.

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One thought on “A day in the life: Preparing spring onions in Guatemala”

  1. I never thought of the work that goes into making these onions ready to eat. Just thought of cooking with them and putting them in baked potatoes. God bless these women who work with their hand so that we can eat with our forks. Theresa Howard, Tambor de Alajuela, Costa Rica

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