Thursday, June 21, 2012

Joyful Landowner

Veronica Benavidez was born in a remote community called Yale. She has 3 sisters and 5 brothers. Veronica grew up farming and she loves taking care of her 5 children. Veronica has not had an easy life at all. She is one of many thousands of women in Nicaragua who have had to really fight to keep her family together. ¨I got married at the age of 15 and my parents wedding gift was a small piece of land. My suffering started three years later when my father became alcoholic and took away the piece of land he had given me¨.

Veronica and her husband first worked for 3 years for a very well-known landowner in the region who had 98 acres of fertile soil. They both managed the business side of the farm and as ¨a token of appreciation¨, they were allowed to ¨live¨ and ¨work¨ on 1 acre of poor quality soil and make a living off it. ¨After the first year, my husband and I felt that we were investing our time, energy and whatever money we could for nothing¨ so we switched into ¨saving mode¨ for 2 more years and came up with just enough to buy one fourth of an acre to live on¨. Unfortunately, Veronica and her husband never received the Deed Title for the plot they bought and a few years later they were kicked off the property. With their hearts full of dreams and hope, they started all over again and started working for big landowners. Again, they had saved enough to buy another piece of land and when they did, guess what happened?! The same ending!

¨It was out of desperation that my husband had thought about illegally migrating to the United States to work, make money, come back and buy a bigger piece of land for us to live. I was totally devastated by his decision and my children were too. That trip would have meant the end of my family but GOD had different plans for us. I am deeply grateful to God for Farmer to Farmer and for the Land for Landless Farmer Program. F2F saved my marriage and my family!¨  
By the Grace of God, Veronica and her family now own their own parcel, through the Partners Worldwide Land for Landless Farmer Program. They have a decent house (built by themselves), they grow 13 different crops, they are healthy but the most important is that their faith has been renewed. ¨I will never let God down; I will pay off my loan no matter what¨ 

Veronica is 37 years old and happily married.  Her husband´s name is Isidro Martinez. They grow banana, plantains, coco, coffee, avocados, pepper, yucca, lemons, oranges, red beans, rice, and sugar cane. They also have chickens, ducks and a cow. Veronica is a member of New Jerusalem Land bank and she is very positive that her family will be the first one paying off the land. She has been part of the program for one year already.

Thank God for Veronica and her family.

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