9-10-14 | Volunteers
Hiro is a 26 year old Fabretto volunteer from Japan who is using his passion for sustainable agriculture to support the community of San José de Cusmapa. After graduating with a degree in agronomy, Hiro received a grant from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA – similar to the U.S. Peace Corps) and a placement to volunteer for 2 years in Cusmapa. With his agricultural expertise, he has been supporting crop production and environmental management in the schools that Fabretto serves.
When Hiro arrived in Cusmapa one year ago, he wasn’t sure what to expect from the volunteer experience. Since he had never studied Spanish, he had to learn the language through his daily life. Today, he speaks fluidly and can communicate effectively with community members. Living in a rural Nicaraguan village isn’t easy. Hiro told us, “The biggest challenge was getting used to cold showers; Mornings in Cusmapa are freezing, so it’s hard to force myself to shower every day.” (Although Nicaragua is known for its hot, tropical climate, Cusmapa’s altitude means that mornings and evenings can be quite chilly, and homes are not equipped with heat or hot water.)
For the past year, Hiro has been working with two schools from communities nestled in the mountains of Cusmapa. Two days a week, he walks for over 45 minutes to get to the public school in Imires. He told us that he enjoys the walk, but the way back can be tough since it’s all uphill. At the school, he assists the teacher of technical and vocational classes, teaching students basic irrigation and cultivation techniques.
Hiro reflected, “I’m happy because they’re already putting what we have learned into practice and we are already prepping the land for planting. To help them adapt the project, I suggested that the students each bring a tire or other found object that could serve as a planter. The biggest problem is the lack of water. El Niño has had a big impact on harvests, and the drought has severely impacted food security.”
Thanks to the work of Fabretto volunteers like Hiro, kids and teachers are learning techniques to cultivate their own vegetables and build long-term community food security.