When I first met Flora I mistook her for one of the flower farm's management, she exuded such self-assurance and authority.
As she strode out to the farm gate to greet us I looked straight past her, wondering when I would get to meet some ‘real' workers.
I was in Tanzania to meet people working on flower, vegetable and coffee farms in the fertile plains around Arusha, in the north-east of the country.
My aim was to collect images and stories of workers that will help ETI to communicate the reality of working life for the people who produce many of the flowers and vegetables that are sold in Europe's supermarkets.
Our ‘fixers' were Phillipina Mosha, Mary Mwezimpya and Anna Karumuna of the Tanzanian Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (TPAWU) - more of them later.
This was my first farm visit. It was only 9am and I was already frazzled from the heat and humidity - it must have been at least 35 degrees in the shade. I wondered how on earth people working out in the fields all day coped.
Flora ushered us into the cool relief of the grading room, where rows of workers were trimming freshly picked roses to a uniform length, stripping them of extraneous leaves and wrapping them in little corrugated cardboard sleeves.
I looked over at line of ‘ordinary' looking workers - "Can I interview one of them?" I asked Phillipina, slightly hesitantly.
A tall, scary-looking woman in a white coat, who I guessed must be a supervisor, indicated that this would not be possible. "You can interview her!', she said, pointing at Flora, in a manner that suggested this was not up for negotiation.
Flora then explained that she is chairperson of the TPAWU's Women Workers Committee on the farm - but assured me that she is also an ‘ordinary' worker like any other, and has been working on the same production line for the past five years.
"Before, things were very hard", she said. "But life is getting better. For example, we have a collective bargaining agreement, and women can bring their issues to the management through the women's committee."
Flora is one of the beneficiaries of a major project implemented by TPAWU to bring about sustainable change to workers' lives, through training, advocacy and trade union organising.
Phillipina, the project co-ordinator, described to me what conditions for women workers were like before the project. "They didn't know what their rights were, and management didn't care about them. They were invisible - neither seen nor heard.
"Women had no maternity rights. Some of them ended up giving birth out in the fields. Many of them would then bring their babies to work with them and set them down at the side of the field all day, because they couldn't afford to stop working.
"Sexual harassment was rife - there were so many stories of women being hired in return for providing sexual favours to management and supervisors."
"What's more, most workers were employed on a casual basis, so even if they'd been doing the same job for years they could be dismissed at any moment, with no reason."
Since 2008, Phillipina, Mary, Anna and other TPAWU staff have succeeded in getting a total of 21 farms to recruit trade union members and 12 farms to sign collective bargaining agreements, with 9 farms now negotiating a joint collective bargaining agreement. 6,000 workers have been recruited into the union.
In each farm, they have organised training to raise workers' awareness of their rights and to educate them about issues like sexual harassment and discrimination, HIV/AIDS and trade union rights. They have also run training for farm managers to help them understand the importance of respecting workers' rights - particularly for women workers.
Persuading some of the farms to engage with the union hadn't been easy, said project co-ordinator Phillipina: "we were chased away by one farm!".
But every farm manager I met during my visit was full of praise for TPAWU's work, and it was clear from the way they interacted with union officials that overall, relations are positive.
Later in the week I asked Phillipina for her reflections on what they have achieved so far.
"Things are different now", she says. "The farm managers are very careful not to behave like they used to. And workers know their rights. They know, for example, that they have to have a contract after three months, and that sexual harassment isn't allowed.
"But most importantly, women workers now know they have a voice. They understand that by joining together, they can be more powerful. And they are developing as leaders.
"In fact, the workers are getting so confident now, they tell their supervisors off if they are late for work!"
Life is still far from perfect. For example, Flora told me that although relations between workers and managers are generally better than before, her supervisor laughed if they complained about anything, telling them they can leave if they don't like it.
And wages clearly fall short of any definition of a living wage. Almost every worker I spoke to said that they weren't enough to feed their families, and that they go into debt to cover their monthly food bill.
I left Tanzania perhaps even more daunted than before by the scale of the challenge of ethical trade - but more convinced than ever that the best way of creating change for workers is to give them the tools to shape their own destinies.
And I remember Phillipina saying to me: "We try, try, try. We never give up."