Meet the Makers: Abu Saleh

June 18, 2017

Abu Saleh is a Canaan Palestine farmer and olive oil producer from the village of Alaraqa. He is a radiant example of dignity through self-reliance.

Abu Saleh labored as a construction worker until 2001 and it was this experience that made him determined to give his children something precious, something they can hold on to — and a land that can sustain them with dignity. 

Underneath his cheerful personality, Abu Saleh is a deeply thoughtful man who is defying social and political limitations by raising his kids, particularly his daughters, in a way that allows them to be self-reliant. This, he says, is why he loves the fair trade principles of Canaan Palestine. “When I was a construction worker I felt like a slave, but today I am in charge of my own life and I teach my children to be independent so they do not suffer like I did.”

Looking at his daughters as he speaks, Abu Saleh says, “there is a difference between an awake person and a person who is closed. An awake person can learn from other people and other cultures and he can live in dignity because he can work and survive. Before we started selling our olive oil I felt that the outside world used to think Palestine is a land without a people but now when they eat my oil they know that we are here.”

While the political and economic circumstances could give him many reasons to see the world through a gloomy lens, Abu Saleh’s resilience is in his ability to see beauty in everything — most importantly his daughters, his trees, and his hope that his work with Canaan Fair Trade can make a difference. We can all learn from Abu Saleh’s insistence on life not just as a life to live but a life to be lived fully. As he likes to say, we make the world beautiful or ugly depending on how we treat each other and the land we live in.

You can support him and fathers like him throughout the globe who are living up to fair trade principles and equality for all by purchasing Canaan Fair Trade products at The Good Buy, including sumptuous crushed olive oils from Palestine.

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