It is Much More than an Oven
Changing lives in Malpaso and El Tule
By Alvaro Rodriguez, Nicaragua Country Director
El Tule and Malpaso are two neighboring communities located 14 kilometers down the highway from the EOS office and then another 10 kilometers on a mountainous road. Because these towns are so hard to reach, they lack basic services such as potable water, education, health, sports and recreation, etc. Partnering with Caritas Diocesanas, EOS International recently changed the lives of the residents dramatically.
When I visited the offices of Caritas Diocesanas (an organization of the Catholic Church of Nicaragua) in Matagalpa to talk about some of EOS’ projects, we talked about our technologies and the benefits they bring to families in rural communities. I shared with them the situation in El Tule and Malpaso, and after the presentation, Caritas decided to partner with us to help these communities.
This is not the first time EOS has worked with Caritas. They also have been our partner in installing water chlorinators in the department of Estelí. Our relationship with them is not formal, but rather is one based on our mutual affinity for providing services and benefits to communities in Nicaragua.
In El Tule and Malpaso, the basic source of income is agriculture – growing grains. We installed six ovens to enable the residents to take their grain and use it to bake and sell bread to generate income.
The ovens were very well received, especially by the women, who formed groups of up to six families to share an oven. Working together, they bake and sell bread to neighboring communities, which is making a big difference in their lives and the quality of their towns as a whole. And, my impression is that the men prefer their wives work baking bread, since it’s less labor-intensive than working in the fields and generates good income.
Initially, EOS and Caritas financed the ovens and the ingredients to get them started. Now, the residents have made enough money that they can buy ingredients on their own. In addition – and a benefit to everyone – is the fact that violence in these communities has decreased because so many people are busy working and have less time to get into trouble.
I know all of us at EOS International and Caritas Diocesanas are really happy to have been able to help these communities change their futures. Let’s keep improving lives!