Sowing and Growing the San Benito Agricultural Community
It is indeed heartening to hear a story of hope overcoming personal limitations and the whims of nature. Such a story has come to our attention from San Benito.
A June 2011Fundacco report notes that the local farmers in this area are giving special attention to finding better ways of working together. They have made considerable progress in this area of their lives because of Fr. Denis Hebert’s patient guidance. Under his tutelage they are learning that achieving positive social change requires a certain set of skills, cooperation, and a sustained effort on the part of the community; it requires learning how to trust each other; it demands a respect for the uniqueness of your brother and sister. Building healthy communities is a complex process at best; in Nicaragua, it is a challenge compounded by man-made and natural disasters. Thus, we should not be surprised that it will take additional time, talents and resources to support this community in its attempts to develop a sustainable and successful agricultural base.
The report indicates that at this time, “not everything is rosy” in the San Benito agricultural cooperatives. Identifying suitable individuals to take on and develop appropriate leadership skills is a major challenge; it is difficult for some to believe that they have the capacity to affect the destiny of their community; it is all too human to want to give up in the face of adversity and disappointment; learning how to participate effectively in group situations is difficult for others. In addition to these human factors, crops are sometimes destroyed because of extreme weather. All of these problems have taxed the abilities of the emerging leadership and tested the commitment and resolve of cooperative members.
However, it is clear in the report that hope, for now, has had the last say. Despite the setbacks, it is your ongoing personal concern for this community’s welfare that has become the major source of inspiration and motivation to keep this important agricultural project alive. Your involvement has given a group of farming families the courage to come together and to go back into the fields to sow another crop on the heels of a crop failure. A successful harvest of melons, corn, and squash will help to pay the bills and feed the soul. It will be another confirmation of how a community can profit when its members work as a collaborative unit: that is, the farmer, his neighbor, and you. Moreover, any success will also motivate others to think about participating more fully in the community. Thank you for sowing Hope into the lives of farming families in San Benito.