Sunday, September 22, 2013

Copuita Manquilas

So for starters I am going to elaborate on my obviously awesome creative title. The title is a mix of all of the places we visited last week: Chiquita Banana farm and Union, Copan and Maquiladoras. The Chiquita and Maquiladora trips were filled with fun facts and information; Copan was more like History with a twist.
             During the Chiquita trip, I realized that my life is a lie. I mean how could I not know that banana trees aren't trees at all, but ginormous plants because they are composed of  at least 80% of water? Everyone knows that, right? I don't know if its just me, but my mind is blown. I haven't felt like this since the day I realized Arnold, From the television show Hey Arnold, did not wear a skirts, but that his shirt was just sticking out. My favorite part of the day was actually going to a banana plantation and seeing the harvesting process. Once a banana "tree" produces it is no longer valuable because It only produces once, so they cut it down. Daughter "trees" grow at the base of the mother tree, so when they hack the mother down the daughter is ready for duty. You could see the generations of the "trees" side by side. Banana "trees" need at least 6 leaves so that the bananas do not ripen too early due to sun exposure. Hurricane Mitch damaged a ton of crops, to the point where there are some areas that have stopped the production of bananas all together. The workers say this years harvest has been excellent and they are back on track. The banana union started in 1954, the workers are treated terribly; They have more work but still get the same amount of pay. When the union wants to do something good and make improvements, the company starts cutting everything.
              Copan was one of my favorite trips by far!!! We visited the Mayan ruins; my mind was blown away at how intelligent these people were. I mean yeah they were into witchcraft like sacrifices and worshiping gods, but there is a lot of solid history and culture wrapped into the ruins. One thing I found hilarious is that they carved stones into circular shapes, but they did not invent the wheel or ever use wheels. They carried all of this  weight on their backs, if they would have simply flipped these carvings vertically upright, their life would have been so much simpler. It amazes me that they created these monumental pyramids,tows homes, artworks, accurate calender, math, sewer system, etc., but not the wheel. We stopped by the independence day parade as we were returning to the hotel. The streets were packed, the band was playing, the baton twirlers were dancing, the foot smelled fantastic and a few dancers were in traditional dresses. The traditional dresses were beautiful and in every color! We also went horse back riding, that was an adventure for me. I am not around horses, never ridden a horse, barley even touched one and I found myself throw into horse culture. Even with my obvious lack of being a horse whisperer, I personally believe that I dominated the trails like a professional. I even galloped for awhile without falling off; overall I feel very accomplished. today I became a horse whisperer, who knows what tomorrow could bring, maybe learn how to surf or create clothing, regardless of what it is I am ready. The last activity we did i Copan was visit a bird sanctuary. We actually did not go to see the birds, but too swim i the river. Eventually, we attempted to view the birds on our way out and we even got to hold a few parrots!!!! They were actually heavy and gripped their claws  into you; It didn't hurt that much and you didn't bleed your life away or anything, but it felt like a very strong pinch. One of the things I did not like was that there were these huge spiders everywhere! It was kinda cool to look at them, from a distance, because they all had different colors, but it was still creepy because of there size ad how quick they can move. Their webs are ridiculously strong, it was able to support a decent size stick. Unlike the spider webs in the United States, these webs are yellow and about 3 times bigger.
                 The maquiladora's was our last visit. We visited a US owed maquila(Fruit of the Loom) and a Honduran owned maquila(Regency), Korea also owns the remainder maquila, but we were not allowed inside. For those of you who don't know what a maquiladora is, it is the factory where you can find cheap labor to make all of our clothing and other items. There are maqulidoras all over the world, for example China, Twain, Bangladesh, Ecuador, El Salvador, etc. The factories we visited does the same work as the factory that collapsed in Bangladesh. I had this image of a sweatshop with extremely bad conditions, child workers ad people working their heart out for next to nothing; It actually wasn't like that. At both maquils we saw how they create the fabric, transform the fabric into clothing ad ship the clothing to different ports. They have these super cool weaving machines that weaves multiple spools of string/yarn into fabric. When that process is complete, the finishing result is a huge roll of fabric at least three feet tall and wide. The roll of fabric is then fed into another machine that unfolds it. Once the fabric is unfolded  it is dyed to the desired color i these ginormous cylinders; you have to use salt and hot water so that the color wont fade when you wash it. The fabric is then unfolded and dried in these massive heaters; these heaters are the reason why the factory is ridiculously hot. We were all pouring sweat during the tour( at the Honduran factory), I don't know how anyone can work in there everyday for 12 hours. Fleece material is originally rough, in order to make it soft they have to comb the material about three times before it become fluffy. The best quote of the day is " we create the fluffy". After we left the factory, we went to a different factory where people were turning the fabric into clothing. Even tho both factories had basically the same set up, there were a few differences between the US and Honduran owned factories. The Honduran factories were hot, dirty ad cramped, they can not be working to the best of there ability with no air conditioning and not the best conditions. As a whole, the Honduran factory was not bad at all, which surprised me, but they weren't as good as the US factories. The US factories were much more organized, air conditioned, more efficient, looked nicer and had the best equipment. The workers didn't even seem stressed like the workers from the Honduran owned maquila; they were relaxed, had music playing and i even saw a bunch of people smiling. The atmosphere of the other maquila was intense and stressful. You could tell Fruit of the Loom was trying to sell their product to us, ad it worked, they treated us like we were about to buy the company. The workers make more the the Honduran minimal wage, but compared to the United States that still isn't a lot. Maquilas empower women, give a bunch of jobs, is good for the economy and people actually want these jobs.Over all I would say they aren't bad, but there is much room for improvement.I thought it was interesting to see the entire process of where our clothes come from.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Keisha, awesome post. I learned a lot about banannas, fabric, and how it's made into clothes. The spiders would have freaked me out, but, now I want to see Arachnaphobia and Eight Legged Freaks. I look forward to your next post, keep up the good work. Love ya