Bananas. That’s the perfect way to describe Leah Varjacques. She loves bananas and swears they have healing powers. She’s long and slender like a banana. She bruises easily as observed during HEFAT training. She’s also a crazy fun time, aka she’s bananas.
Bananas also played a huge role in helping her decide what stories to tell. She is the co-creator of Beyond the Seal, a documentary that focuses on small banana farmers in Ecuador and their fighting efforts for a Fair Trade Fruit.
Leah is a multidimensional and multimedia storytelling mastermind. She has always been interested in environmental justice and the activists behind the movements who are being constantly targeted.
Originally born in France and currently living her best Brooklynite life whilst killing the game at The New York Times, Leah refuses to turn a blind eye to inequality, “…[E]nvironmental justice is the most important issue of our time and people in the global south are facing the impacts, and it’s an injustice. I care about injustice.”
Living abroad helped her build a kinship with Latin America and the Latin American peoples struggles, “I know their stories are important because I’ve traveled and lived in the area. Initially what got me interested was the U.S. involvement and impact it’s had on Latin America in so many ways. Even though I’m not from there it’s still my problem because the place I live in has contributed so heavily.”
During this fellowship she’s hoping to continue shining a light on untold stories, like internal displacement in Honduras, “I would want others to learn people are fighting to stay in Honduras. It’s not just all caravans and migrants. Women who are fighting relentlessly and for the internally displaced persons (IDPs). People are displaced internally way before they leave. There are a lot of people who can’t afford to leave Honduras…it’s just a much more complex picture than the common narrative.”
Want to know my favorite fun fact about Leah? She’s a fraternal twin and is about 8 inches taller than her sister (Hey, Myriam!).
She’s got a heart of gold and is incredibly sweet (like a banana!)
Victoria Moll-Ramírez, 2019 Adelante! Honduras Fellow