In a recent team meeting, a chance conversation made the Nuevas Esperanzas team think of just how long we have been working alongside the families from El Ojochal de Listón. Two of our agricultural team, one who has worked with Nuevas Esperanzas since it started in 2005 and another newer recruit, were discussing their work with the Reyes family. Enrique talked about Marcial and his son Donald. Carlos talked about Donald and his son Alex. Three generations continue to be involved in working to improve their lives through a variety of projects. Team member Dan Soley recently interviewed Marcial, Donald and Alex Reyes about their involvement with Nuevas Esperanzas. Marcial Reyes was one of the first people to work with the team back in 2005 on the first project undertaken in their remote community on the slopes of the Telica volcano.
It seems such a long time ago that Marcial cannot quite remember when it was he first met the team. He does however remember how much harder things were. ‘I remember going down to meet Yamil on horseback to bring him back up with materials for the tank’, he recalls. Back in 2005 when Nuevas Esperanzas first visited El Ojochal access was a huge challenge. The bumpy, uneven track was only fit for horseback or walking, even a cart could not pass easily. Building the first rainwater harvesting tank at the school took months and months – much longer than the normal construction time for one of the ferro-cement tanks which have become something of a trademark for Nuevas Esperanzas over the years. The problem was that all the materials had to be pulled up the track – a slow and difficult task.
Marcial’s son Donald also remembers that first project. He helped his father and got to know the team better when the work to improve the road and open up vehicle access began. Donald’s son, Alex, now 14, does not remember a time when Nuevas Esperanzas were not working in the community. He remembers helping out a little bit on the rainwater harvesting tank project when family tanks were built for just about everyone in the community. After that he started working with his father and grandfather on the model farms, learning new techniques, and discovering from the Nuevas Esperanzas team that planting new crops such as pineapple could be a great new source of income for the family.
The three men joke about whose plot of land is the best kept – Alex refuses to take sides between his father and grandfather but does admit wanting to have his own land to try his hand at growing pineapple when he is older. All three men speak highly of the difference Nuevas Esperanzas’ projects have made to the life of their family. For the team it has been a privilege to work alongside these families and to see the skills learned pass down through the generations.