Is fair trade possible where injustice abounds? Is the retail trade possible where monetary exchange is minimal? On Saturday 21 a group of Homes for the Homeless traveled the region of Julio Moreno in the interior of the prefecture of Santa Elena accompanying the members of Hogar de Cristo of the project The Basket of Rosita. This project consists of the sale of food bags with the basic products: rice, flour, oats, salt, oil, milk powder or margarine for 10 dollars without commission for Hogar de Cristo. In addition the organization undertakes to raise these people once or twice a month to sell it and thus save the cost of travel. That bag, in a Mercadona or Vidal de Gandía is worth 14 euros, about 16 dollars. So, considering that the average salary is $ 200 and families are much larger, most of the monthly budget is spent on food.
In this region 40 kms from Guayaquil, but a two-hour journey by mud tracks in a 4X4 full of horses, only corn and plum grow. Most men work from Monday to Friday in the mines or on the corn plantations far from their families and come back the weekend to drink and throw themselves at the bar while their women take care of everything. Each village has a small elementary school (until 12 years) but only the largest, Julio Moreno, about 2000 inhabitants, has a school. The director of one of the schools, Subeybaja (guess why) told us that only 60% of the children went to high school.
The truth is that these villages live better than in the sectors of the Perimeter. At least material and gastronomic, although I doubt the social pressure to live in a village of one hundred inhabitants that is isolated 3 months a year (in the rainy season you can not travel between towns) everyone can bear it. At the entrance of one of these villages, the Pacific Juntas, there is a pre-Columbian idol of more than six centuries that greets us, and tells us clearly that Europeans overestimate time and that to enter their community we adapt to it as water adapts to the ravine.