Colombia: Hydrangea farm reunites mother and daughter

Maria Eugenia Gomez and her daughter Catalina Arango are reunited because the universe wanted it that way. This is what Mariu firmly believes (as all those named Maria Eugenia are called Mariu with affection).

A woman who becomes a widow in 1995 and four years later, begins a hobby that ends up forming the company that today provides jobs not only to two of her children, but to 200 more people, and which among other things has become a bond of love and unites the people who work there.

The company is ‘Flores del Este’, the largest productive land of hydrangeas - planted on a single farm - in Oriente Antioqueño, the second largest flower producing region in Colombia, after Cundinamarca (where the capital of the country, Bogotá, is located). Colombia, the country as a whole, is also the second largest exporter of flowers in the world after the Netherlands.

Mariu tells us how it was that reunion came to be orchestrated by the universe: “When my husband died, I remained in charge of my children. When organizing everything I realized that this farm did not provide enough, it was of Holstein cows (for exhibition and very expensive) which did not provide enough to pay the property taxes. Then I knew that it had to change.

At that time the flowers were in full swing, especially the hydrangeas. I started very slowly to plant flowers without telling anyone. I sold a cow and with that money I bought flowers to plant and to do cuttings. I had only between four and five thousand plants at the beginning… The first time I exported there were 150 flowers per week, only that!”.

“One Sunday,” María Eugenia continues, “came the woman from Flor Andina (the largest distributor of hydrangeas at that time) who bought our flowers for export through a Cooperative that helped mothers that were the head of the household in all this region. She told me that she was taking a census so she could negotiate a better price with the person who bought them in Miami, FL and told me she would call her immediately. She actually called her and greeted her on the phone right there in front of me: “Hello, Cata how are you?” I got to hear the voice on the other side of the phone and I recognized that voice so I yelled: “That’s my daughter’s voice! That’s Catalina, my daughter!"

Read more at Revista Mujer (Liliana Pérez)

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