"Outside of the government, no one has ever helped our school, before SosteNica came along," observed Salía, one of San Antonio's main teachers. "Your support has fallen, as if from the sky, like a long awaited rain after a difficult drought." Every day, Salía rides her bike over dirt roads, 15 kilometers to and from school.
There is something thrilling, especially for youngsters, about harvesting vegetables from plants you have raised. As you can see from the photos, 2017 continues to be very bountiful for our Nicaraguan students. And as they harvest their crops, we witness the yield, not only in terms of bio-mass, but more importantly in terms of Nicaragua's future farmers. Elementary school students (and their teachers) learn, through this exercise, the benefits of producing one's own healthy diet. Teachers at Betania, Silvio Mayorga, La Chilama and Valle de Jesus elementary schools, so taken by the mystery of their bounty, have begun tracking their specific fruit and vegetable crops, inventorying how many plants students have planted, and how much produce students harvest each day.
Rather than grow an excessive number of different crops, SosteNica's School Garden team has concentrated on only eight crops: corn, green pepper, cucumber, tomato, squash, canteloupe, string bean, taro root
For most of thes crops, it takes anywhere from 55 to 100 days of constant attention -- weeding, watering, shielding from disturbance -- to get a single fruit or vegetable. At Valle de Jesus school, our students have finally begun harvesting, with 41 ears of corn and more than 100 string beans recorded in their spread sheet. The students of Betania have hauled in an impressive 40 cucumbers and 20 juicy big tomatoes, with many more still on the vine. The 8 taro plants at La Chilama won't have roots big enough to harvest for another six months, and only then if students water them constantly. Taro root is very thirsty and requires 200 days to develop. Silvio Mayorga won the prize for "pipian" -- a special Nicaraguan squash, similar in taste to our yellow squash. They have harvested 16 so far.