Thursday, December 15, 2011

Stories From The Field: Living by the Land

Future loan recipient, Apolinar, and her two sons
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it is easy to forget how wonderful simplicity can be. Meet Apolinar Sanchez and her two sons, Cristobal and Mario. For the Sanchez family, their livelihood depends on agriculture. All year round, year after year, the Sanchez clan plants, tends, and harvests crops in their family fields. They produce the staple crops of Nicaragua, such as beans and corn.

Behind them in this photo, you can see a pile of dried corn. Their task of the day is to manually husk and shuck six bags before sun down. This task may seem tedious to some but to the Sanchez family it is a job they take pride in, and they really enjoy doing it together.

Apolinar's family lives in a community called Piedras Coloradas. The center of their community has an elementary school and a church, but not a single market or stores. A stream runs behind the Sanchez home. This is their only source of water -- for drinking, for cooking, and for bathing. A bed with no mattress stands in the corner of their home. I did not ask where all seven of the family members sleep.

As I quickly tried to take all of this in, Apolinar's two grandchildren came running home from school and jumped onto her lap. A smile stretching from ear to ear appeared on her face, and she told me (in Spanish), "This land has been in my family for decades. Although we do not have much, we have our harvest and each other. What else could I ask for?"

Apolinar Sanchez is part of our first expansion group in Piedras Coloradas, Nicaragua (about 2 hours by bus from the nearest city, Matagalpa). Her lending group will begin receiving loans in March 2012. If you would like to help fund loans for this community, please visit our donation page and indicate in the special instructions "Donation to Piedras Coloradas."

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