In order for donors to Agros villages to get a better sense of the impact they are having on the lives of people there, we periodically lead groups on vision or service trips. On these trips, the groups spend time with community members, hearing their stories and often participating in the daily life of families.
One recent trip was a Women’s Vision Trip, made up of a group of women who support communities in Nicaragua, or who are exploring ways to support them. Our colleague, Emily, led the trip, and it was her first time to see the newest village, Tierra Nueva, which is home to 150 families (about 750 people). Here are a few of her comments:
Now I know what all of the fuss has been about with this Tierra Nueva place! Wow. It is amazing! I didn’t want to leave. As we drove in this morning, Oscar (our bus driver) pointed out where the property line started and soon to our right we saw San Benito on the hill across the valley and moments later pulled into Las Cuarenta. It felt like the combination of all of the good things I have seen throughout other Agros villages blended into one community. The gardens stood out to me right away – what care families have taken to decorate their property – it showed to me dignity and pride in where they live.
Our first stop was Carmen’s home, a short and gorgeous walk up the path from the school past multiple homes with gardens that were drawing me in, asking me to sit and be and have a cup of coffee – I wished that I had time to do just that in every home with every person I saw but no, not today and so I carried on to the home of someone I will now admire forever. Carmen is a health promoter in Tierra Nueva and lights up a room! Her eyes are wide and bright, and with dimples deep she smiled with pride telling us about her children and her work as a health promoter and her role as the VP of the community board, and the list goes on. Her care for the people of her community is outstanding and extends beyond what she signed up for because she can’t stop caring and serving and advocating for those that don’t yet know how to do so for themselves. What a rock.
The people who live in Agros communities are incredibly inspiring. Thank you for being a part of their lives through your generous support.
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Lucinda not only single-handedly runs the family farm, she is also a community leader, a caregiver to her children and elderly husband, and the community health worker for her village.
Lucinda and her husband, Don Tito (Jose T. Ortez), dreamed of owning land to be able to work their way out of poverty. They had rented farmland to grow food for their family, but there was never enough money to purchase their own land and build a secure future. Lucinda and Don were excited to be among the first members of the Agros village Piedra de Horeb, Honduras. However, shortly afterarriving, Don Tito’s health prevented him from working their fields. While many speculated they would lose their land, Lucinda has ensured that won’t happen.
At a remarkable 60 years of age, Lucinda is motivated to pay off her land, and works hard to see that her crops yield good harvests. She has been one of the most active members of the Field School training group for plantain production, and she has successfully applied the training to her own plantain crops. On top of all of these responsibilities, Lucinda is an example to her peers of what is possible through hard work, training and perseverance, and gives back to her community by serving as the secretary of the Community Board of Directors and a facilitator for adult literacy classes.
She has earned the respect and admiration of her community, which sees her as an example of all that one can accomplish.
Your gift is powerful in the lives of so many people like Lucinda and Don Tito. Without your support, this kind of empowerment would not be possible. On behalf of Lucinda and all of our Agros communities, thank you for your faithful support.
Maria worked as a farm cook in Nicaragua for many years where she struggled to provide enough resources to care for her family. She knew that her job wasn’t going to be enough for her family long term, so they decided to move to an economically rich community to settle down.
Risking all that she had hoping for a better life, Maria moved her family to Costa Rica. She felt like they were making progress, that is, until her house caught fire. The fire not only consumed their clothes and the roof over their head, but also destroyed their hope for new opportunity.
With nothing to her name, Maria and her children returned to Nicaragua.
Upon arrival to Nicaragua, Maria met a new friend and support, Tierra Nueva community member Pablo Martinez. Their friendship blossomed, and to Maria’s joy, her family was able to join Agros’ Tierra Nueva community in 2012. This meant that her family would have the opportunity to start over with a clean slate!
She was excited about the opportunity, not only improve the quality of life for her children, but also to begin a firm foundation of economic independence for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
“When I take my product to market, I do not worry about my children. I know that they are in a safe community with clean water.”
Since joining the Tierra Nueva community, Maria has taken full advantage of any opportunities that come her way. She is now growing vegetables, corn, coffee, and raising chickens.
If you asked Maria her favorite thing about being engaged in Agros’ Tierra Nueva community, she would tell you, “When I take my product to market, I do not worry about my children. I know that they are in a safe community with clean water.”
Becoming a member of Tierra Nueva has significantly improved the quality of life for Maria and her family. The ability to own land and have a safe home means that her kids have a life that she had only previously dreamed of.
Recently, Maria was elected to become the Community Health Promoter. Life for the Martinez family looks remarkably better than it did a few years ago.
Thanks to you, Agros is able to restore hope and opportunity to the world’s poor. It is exciting when we get to see rural poor families own agricultural land, attain economic self-sufficiency, realize their God-given potential, and pass on to future generations the values and resources that enable them to flourish.