Resting on a hand built reclining bench sits Rodolfo Pineda and his young daughter Katherin. A young boy races past the porch lined with flowering plants. The front of Rodolfo’s house is a little “pulperia”, a local name given to a small store with daily need items.
Rodolfo greets us warmly and explains he was part of the CEPAD program during the previous five-year cycle in his community, Sompopera. Though the work that you made possible is officially over, he and the other community leaders continue to work together to improve their community. Rodolfo is eloquent and talkative. He immediately begins sharing about his five-year experience with CEPAD. All the benefits Rodolfo has for his family were provided by you. This is just one family in one town, your gifts make similar things possible for families all over Nicaragua. The following is a transcript of what he said:
“It seems that CEPAD has been a forerunner and I have discovered more of the good work that CEPAD carries out in other communities… for example the contours, fruit trees… The other day I went to an event and I was asked if I wanted to be part of a government fair composed of people who have home gardens. They come and pick you up in a truck and take you to the events put on by the Ministry of Home Economy (MEFCCA). If CEPAD hadn’t helped us with the home gardens we wouldn’t be able to go to these fairs and sell and improve ourselves in better fairs. This is an open door for us to work with other entities.”
“CEPAD’s interest is that people who have some land should start using it, because before we didn’t use it because no one showed any interest… but having a house with fruit trees around it is very important! It raises the price of the property, provides shade, keeps the house cool and our children eat better.”
“It is no longer necessary for me to give my money to the doctor for him to tell me that my kids lack vitamins, because now [these vitamins] are found directly in my home garden. If I told you all the benefits CEPAD has provided right now we would fill a book.”
“Another thing that CEPAD has pushed is the incentive to plant a tree. There are many who won’t take the time to plant one because they won’t see an immediate benefit. This is very selfish. It is lack of culture. We work for our future generations, not just for us. It is important to leave behind a good footprint.”
“Many times people come by, as well as CEPAD people and I tell them ‘I have a home garden in the back. Go pick something and take it with you!’ ”
“The fruit trees are now giving, and with our challenging economy, they are providing us with some “pesitos” [money]. There are some merchants that come through and buy from us when there is great demand for limes… coconuts. Right now they are buying starfruit.”
As Rodolfo walks us towards the back of his property and shows us his fruit trees and other plants he has learned to harvest from from CEPAD, one thing is clear, he has taken advantage of all the training and coaching from CEPAD. However, he is also more than willing to share his knowledge, as well as the fruits of his work, to anyone and everyone.