This is Mercedes. She lives with her husband, Renee, in the village of Cristo Rey, Nicaragua.  A village that’s right across the dirt road from the city dump. Most of the adults in this place make their living as garbage pickers. Their houses are pieced together from scraps of metal, wood, and plastic that they find in the dump. Some houses have electricity, and some don’t. Most everyone has a dirt floor, most everyone cooks on fire. We’ve even seen plastic bottles being used in the cooking fires. As you can imagine, a consistent source of good nutritious food is hard to find. The health of the adults and the children is generally very low and sickness, under-nutrition, and malnutrition are rampant.

Mercedes wants her community to be a better place, and in spite of these serious challenges, she’s doing something about it.

Mercedes received Strong Harvest Peer Educator training two years ago and learned all about how to grow and use the moringa tree for its many benefits. At that time she started using moringa in her home, creating some her own recipes and she has seen the health of her family transformed. She has gone on to train many other people in her community and beyond, and has even shared information about moringa with visiting doctors from Venezuela and Costa Rica.

When we were in Nicaragua in December, just a few weeks ago, Lesly, our Country Coordinator in Nicaragua, and I had a few more meetings before I was to leave. Lesly and I met with Mercedes and some of the people that she’s trained in Cristo Rey. Together with them, we all went to a neighboring community about 2 kilometers away and met with a group of people who have formed an agricultural co-op. They didn’t know anything about moringa. As we watched, Mercedes explained clearly and with great understanding and depth of knowledge all about the many benefits of moringa. By the time she was done talking, the people in the co-op were asking, “When can you all come and teach us how to grow and use this tree?” By the time we left that meeting they already had the initial plans for how a training was going to happen.

I can’t put into words how exciting it was for me to sit back and watch as our vision played out right before my eyes. This is was our vision in action – people teaching people teaching people. Taking this knowledge and moving it out in this powerful ripple effect, this multiplication of information that is reaching so many more people than we could ever hope to reach on our own.

We are so thankful to all of you who make this possible by volunteering your time, sharing your skills and abilities, and donating your financial resources. You’re playing your part to bring this life-changing knowledge to the people in our world who so desperately need it.