Oscar Royel Diaz, 16, is in his last year of training at El Hogar Agricultural School but already his community is reaping the benefits of his education. After almost a five-hour bus journey followed by a forty-five minute trek on foot, a recent North American visitor to Oscar’s village discovered Oscar’s family’s farm was the talk of the surrounding community. Neighboring farmers visit to learn the techniques Oscar has shared with his family. Drip irrigation to conserve precious water (the country is now in its 18th month of a drought), use of animal waste as manure, and composting techniques all make for a more productive farm in an area which earlier used slash-and-burn methods. Oscar takes great pride in knowing his family members share the new-found agricultural knowledge with neighbors, thereby enhancing individual farms and the community-at-large. Oscar beamed with pride and delight when he learned his North American visitors had heard of the success of his family’s farm and its place of honor in his village.
Written in 2008.