The growing petal. Interview with Rosario Pulupa
Charito, tell us a about yourself. What kind of work did you do before working at the flower farm?
I used to work as a house maid were most of my salary went towards paying the rent. After a couple of months I had to come back to Malchingui, bringing with me my father due to my financial situation in Quito.
Tell us about your career in the flower industry.
I decided to return because I was born here (Malchingui) and went to work at a flower farm called Flores Mitad del Mundo, where I worked until the day the company had to close.
I worked at the propagation area and at that time the work was quite hard because I had to load the gravel, sterilize our work area while it was very hot. At that time, I worked full 8 hours and we got up earlier.
How long have you been working in Florsani?
I’ve been working here for 9 years but have been in the flower industry for 11 years.
Did having work on the farm give you security and stability?
Yes, I always knew that if I had a secure job I could make a loan and would be able to pay it. I began to buy little by little the land, the materials and finally I had everything I needed to build my house.
Now I even have my house as people would say “modernized”. A few years ago there wasn’t washing machines, kitchens or anything for that matter at Malchingui, so not long ago we own these things but we have everything that is necessary in the house.
How has your life changed at work and at home compared to 15 years ago?
How can I explain it… compared to 15 years ago, I can say that I still have the same positive feelings and desire to work but with less strength. People slow down the pace at work because one does not have the same strength you had 15 years ago.
Also, working here is very good because everything you do is valued and the extra hours are always paid, which is good because the extra money is always helpful at home.
What work do you currently do at Florsani?
I clean the offices and gardens of the main offices. In addition to helping engineers in what they need.
It’s super nice to work here!
Tell us what is Florsani to you?
It’s an important flower company and it’s amazing that the engineer (Gonzalo) takes it forward every day, because there are many people here and he has to excel for all of us.
When you see moments when the engineer had difficulties, what was your reaction? How do you observe the engineer (Gonzalo)?
I have seen that the engineer always fights for people and that he fought when the previous went bankrupt.
When Flores Mitad del Mundo closed, he was here the next day telling us not to worry because we could continue working at the new flower farm (Florsani). So we were all working the next day because he was here, ready to take us all forward.
We were behind him, we grew up together and we helped each other a lot because it was very hard to work here and make the new company grow. We were just a few people and worked until 9:00 pm – 10:00 pm in the crops so there wasn´t any waste of flowers, then processes it at the post-harvest and to quickly ship it to the clients.
What do your colleagues think about this change and what image do they have about Florsani? What does it mean for the community to have the company in Malchingui?
Everyone who has worked here knows what Florsani is really like. We talk about the company with so much gratitude. I always share my story of growth, how I started working and how I continue here until today because I didn’t leave when the previous company went bankrupt and remained here to work on the “new” flower farm.
What does it mean for you to have a job?
The work for me means a commitment, where you have to comply and you have to be responsible. You have to be a leader at work, be kind by helping people who have difficulties. When I go to the crops and I see that someone is new I like to help him, to teach him how to harvest the plant, how to do the work faster and improve the yield. I like it because that’s how work gets better.
How do your colleagues receive the advice or information you give them?
Sometimes they are surprised! I have always been a good worker and I continue to be good at the harvest. When I stayed in that area I helped everyone and always fulfill the performance they ask for, sometimes I went beyond doing what I had to do.
What kind of advice do you give to your classmates when they have a problem?
We talk about what happens on the farm and we usually advice each other. I’ve always said that you never have to drown in a glass of water and to always draw strength from anywhere to face the problem you have. The truth is that I’m a strong woman because I was left a widow very young, my son was only 8 months old. The life that I had to face was very hard, by myself and I had to succeed in order to give my son a good quality of life.
At that time, I lived in Quito and truly believe that the city is the worst. If one does not have a good job, the money that is earned is not enough to have a good quality of life. I could only pay my rent and could not afford anything else.
Tell us a little about your situation here. Who do you live with in your home?
I live with my son and my daughter-in-law right now, my mother lives next door. We’re separated only after we go to sleep because we spent together most of the time at night or here at work. My son and daughter-in-law also work at Florsani.
Did you encourage them to come work at Florsani?
Yes, I told them. As I have told Renata (work colleague), I love the company too much for the sole fact that working here, with the blessing of God, has given me strength in my life and a roof above my head; a little roof that covers me from the sun, the rain and all those things because of the work I have here.
What time makes you happiest on your work day?
Every moment makes me happy! But the moment I enjoy the most is at lunch when we go with the agronomers and talk nonsense or laugh. Also, when they advise me about the futureand tell me that anything that one proposes, it must be fulfilled. If you want to do something, you have to put all your forces in it and conquer it.
What is the relationship of the company with nature? Is the flower valued or treated just as any given product?
Yes, it’s valued because we grow beautiful flowers. Not only do we think that but also many people outside the company say it. It’s a healthy flower that’s why they buy it.
What advice would you give to a woman who was in the same situation you were?
The only thing I have always advised other women is that they never let themselves be defeated, always think ahead and in a positive way. Never negatively and that you will always manage to get ahead, you do not have to back out. You have to grow because God does help us.