Back from the Brink

The Municipality of San Lorenzo, Bolivia, has little over 3,000 residents. Nestled between a fork in the Río Tojtiwaysho, the majority of families here are field workers, cultivating what vegetables possible in the increasingly dry soil.  Due to recent changes in the climate, agriculturalists have been forced to move away in the hopes of finding other work, leaving San Lorenzo with a broken infrastructure. 

Felisa Zenteno Panique has lived in San Lorenzo her entire life, now with her husband and son. But life is not as it used to be in her homeland. The family owns a plot of modest acreage, where they work tirelessly to bring the dry earth back to life - back to the lush land of her childhood.  As the soil turns to dust and the rive dries up, community members resort more and more to purchasing the vegetables that they used to take pride in growing themselves. Food prices rose dramatically with this increase in demand.  The worst part in Felisa’s mind… this crisis was not only affecting the homefront.

“We were very worried because the money that we give to the school to prepare breakfast and lunch is very little. We could not afford to feed the children nutritious food.”

The situation looked desolate.

That is, until in talk among some local mothers, Felisa overhead a woman from another school mention Esperança Bolivia.  The organization supported the construction of a greenhouse to produce vegetables for children attending school.

With rekindled hope, Felisa organized her community to ask the technicians of Esperança Bolivia for help building a greenhouse in San Lorenzo.  Fathers and mothers joined forces to realize their dream of a better future for their children.

Esperança takes great pride in seeking out indigenous groups that are already working to help their populations; those intimately in tune with the local culture, its people and their needs.  As an organization built on a foundation of community, Esperança Bolivia was quick to provide the materials and technical training for the people of San Lorenzo. The community came together to provide labor; laying stone and piping, forming a personal, emotional connection to the project.

The village now had their greenhouse and irrigation system! The production of different vegetables was possible once again. And the school had healthy food with which to feed the children.

“The best gift I have ever received is my family; my husband and son. Now I know that they will be able to eat vegetables for the benefit of good health,” Felisa beamed at the completion of the project.

Vegetables are no longer purchased because with the greenhouse supplied by Esperança Bolivia, the community provides food by their own hands.  Felisa’s favorite part of this new way of life is, “the boys and girls learn to grow their favorite vegetables for their own lunch.”