Meet the MY JOB Narrators

I’ve been learning about the importance of worker-owned cooperatives as mechanisms for creating community wealth, so Mayra’s story is particularly resonant for me. With the support of a loan from Working Capital for Community Needs (WCCN), Mayra and her fellow farmers in San Rámon have been able to increase their income and access international fair trade markets by working as a collective.

According to WCCN, Latin American coffee cooperatives organized by small-scale farmers often lack the cash to purchase their members’ coffee harvest. When this happens, farmers often sell to independent buyers for a lower price or wait months before receiving payment. By providing short-term loans to coffee cooperatives at the time of harvest, small-scale farmers receive a fair price for their coffee.

Excerpt from Chapter 7, in Mayra’s Own Voice

It’s difficult in my community, because we don’t all think the same way. There are some people that just think about their own welfare, and they don’t think about the welfare of everybody else or of the majority. That’s a little difficult.

As human beings, sometimes that’s the way we are. Sometimes people think, “Well, I’m not going to spend my time doing stuff for other people.” There are people that think that way, and I don’t think that’s right.

But the truth is, when we live in a community where there is a cooperative, the problems are almost the same for all of us, economically, in production aspects. So I think it’s really necessary that at least some of us think alike, because that’s the only way we can help each other mutually.

Check out Mayra’s chapter in MY JOB: Real People at Work Around the World, available both on Kindle and on paper. And, stay tuned to meet the next narrator, Robin–a horse coach, in Chapter 9 . . .

Photographs courtesy of WCCN.

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