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BAUEN, day 43

The first event: recovered business to recovered business

“Meanwhile, we put the rooms in a condition to be able to work. This took us about a year, before we had our first client, the quinceañera [fifteenth birthday party] of compañero Plácido’s daughter (Plácido belongs to the Chilavert cooperative). That was when we started holding events in the rooms. We barely made enough to replenish our supplies and eat,” remembers Gladys of this difficult period.

Plácido Peñarrieta, worker and president of the Chilavert print shop, was about to celebrate the fifteenth birthday of his daughter Rosalía. “I would kill two birds with one stone,” commented Plácido himself: solving the problem of the place to hold the party, and at the same time, collaborating with the BAUEN workers.

“In 2003, my daughter turned fifteen, and I wanted to throw her a party,” Plácido said, years later. The recovery of the Bauen gave this print worker with a long history in the slums movement an opportunity to make up for the absences that his activism and the confrontational stage forced. The lack of income after losing a job is, possibly, the greatest pressure workers feel, and is part of the story of the enormous majority of members of recovered businesses–even more so in the case of women workers–when they recount the most difficult stages of the recovery process, when there’s no money to cover the most basic needs of the family.


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