Updated: Jun 4, 2020
A young man of 23 years, born and raised in a nearby village and the son of a construction worker. His sister didn't find any opportunities for work here so she moved to a larger city. Flavio, on the other hand is immensely passionate about agriculture and does many small jobs for local farmers but struggles to find a stable income. His family had no money to buy him land to work, so he had to find other ways.
He crossed our path in the early days of when we first came when he came by looking for work. At the time, we had plenty of dead trees that needed to be chopped and removed. So that's what he first started helping us with. It didn't take long for us to see that this was a hard working man with many skills and talents who was also eager to learn and grow.
Before long we were speaking about how he might make the chopping of dead trees into a sustainable business for himself. There are not many trees in the Alentejo and firewood is in high demand so the potential for a business was there. Someone needed to cut down the old trees, chop the big trunks into 40cm pieces, pick it up, store it and then bring it to customers.
He had a chain saw that allowed him to cut the trees down but no efficient way of breaking down the trunks, which were mostly of very hard wood. So we came up with a plan that we would finance a wood splitting machine for him, and with each sale of wood he would repay part of the machine. Within eight months he paid back the entire machine and was now the proud owner of a wood splitting machine. Not only that, he is now also known as the "wood guy" in the region.
Now we continue mentoring him so that he puts aside money for future repairs and maintenance, while also working towards a grass cutting machine that will allow him to become known as the "hay guy".
Flavio also prunes and cuts trees for us, cuts away the wild sprouts on the olive trees that bear no fruit but suck the energy from the tree and he is also a key part of our harvest team. We love working with him because we know we can count on him, he shows up eager to work and always with a willing smile and it's wonderful to see him build a business for himself that can continue on even if we are one day not here anymore.