Part of our History, Valverde del Fresno, Strawberries and Peaches!

In Valverde with the family who welcomed us 25 years agoIn Valverde with the family who welcomed us 25 years ago

We live in a little village in the South West of Spain called Valverde del Fresno in the Region of Extremadura about 17 Km from Portugal. Village life has been marked by constant emigration to France and Germany and to other more industrialised  towns of  Spain.

About 2500 people now live here. Like many of our neighbours we do seasonal work to earn our living.

Intensive strawberry farmingIntensive strawberry farming

There are two seasons. From February to the beginning of June we go south to Andalusia, (Huelva) to pick red fruit: strawberries raspberries and blackcurrents. From the end of June to September we work in a Cooperative in Catalogna (Lleida) picking and packing peaches, nectarines and pears.

Nearly all our work companions are immigrants. The strawberry sorting factory employs 500 women from Romania to pick the fruit and in the factory itself we are of every nationality, especially from Morocco and Central Europe. Hours are long, at least 11 hours work a day and with no days off.

In Verano y Otoño In Verano y Otoño

In Leida for the peach and pear harvest we are given a free day on Sundays.

It is important to live as a community during these periods of sustained manual work and to carry our tiredness together.  Working so closely with others unites us.

We want to witness to the courage and endurance of so many women who have been obliged to leave their country, home and children in order to earn their living. This is the heart of our prayer.

Life here is about seeing others with the eyes of Jesus. It is about perceiving what others are going through, about loving and seeking to live with joy and vitality!

Working together at the CoopWorking together at the Coop