My name is Fredesvinda, but everybody in my village calls me Fredita. I was born in Pucallpillo on 19 October 1948. My parents were not from the Alto Huayabamba, but I consider myself as a native here. I grew up very close to nature. Before the seventies, we mainly lived of fish, hunting and crop such as corn, plantains and beans.
I got married when I was only 20 years old and moved to Tarapoto, a city two hours drive away from Juanjui. I have 4 children. My marriage did not last long, so I returned to Pucallpillo and started to work the land with my children where we grew the food we needed to survive.
To me the coca boom always seemed unreal: It appeared, stirred up and destroyed peoples’ lives and when it faded away, we all were left behind traumatized and thinking that drug trade was the only way to survive. Me too, I had sown several hectares of coca. But without much success, since I was a single woman and didn‘t have much help.
A new hope…
In the nineties, there was virtually nothing in the Alto Huayabamba, only poverty and suffering. I tried to raise my children with what I had. In the year 2000, many alternative projects popped up and the cacao was brought to replace the coca. But all of us, we were sowing it with much distrust.
Still, I took a chance and planted two entire hectares of cacao, but it didn’t turn out very well, since I did not have much help to look after my parcel the grafts would try up. I tried to graft a couple of times but then I simply gave up on that. I decided that cacao grows by itself and I manly used seeds of cacao trees that have always been growing on my father‘s land. Today, my cacaos are still pure, the way they used to be, without having been mixed with foreign cultured varieties. I am very proud and happy of not having continued with the grafting, for this is the reason why today, I have different sorts of cacao growing on my farm of many different colors and flavors.
For me and all the other farmers Choba Choba is the best thing that happened to us. We never dreamed of becoming co-owners of a chocolate brand. This is just incredible! I am almost 70 years old but thanks to this project I feel 20 years younger because I want to live long enough to see my company grow.
Today, I am very happy to be the ambassador of the cacao nativo and I am very thankful to our friends Eric and Christoph for inviting us to become part of this great adventure. Full of energy I shout out: “Viva La Revolución del Chocolate!”