Walter Omar, age 8, and his brother Romel Adalberto, age 4, are living healthier lives with a promising future. The family experienced a significant change when parents Romel Deras and Rosa Sarmiento, ages 38 and 31 respectively, joined the Vida Café Project.
For the Deras-Sarmiento family, the biodigester has provided the greatest benefit for the family.
Romel previously bought firewood, which cost the family $17.70 on a budget that was already stretched too thin. Using waste from the family’s pigs, the digester converts manure into biogas for cooking. After learning sustainable practices through their training from Heifer, the family no longer pays for wood, gas or electricity as sources of energy.
The Vida Café Project educated Romel and Rosa on food and nutrition, and Rosa said the health of her children will never be the same thanks to the training and gifts.
To increase their access to nutritious foods, the family is growing a garden with gifts from the Vida Café Project. Beets, carrots, tomatoes, squash, beans, onions and peppers, along with other vegetables and legumes, fill the rows of the garden that is being tended by the entire Deras-Sarmiento family.
The family also received fruit trees from the project, include orange, lemon and nance – a small, yellow fruit grown in Central America. Soon, the family will enjoy mangoes and avocados. For now, the fruit is being consumed by the family to improve their health; however, it may be sold at the local market in the future to earn additional income.
“The kids eat all the oranges,” Rosa said. “Sometimes they eat all of them at once. They love fruit.”
Rosa is also a member of an organized women’s group which receives support from the Vida Café Project. As part of a cooperative of small coffee producers, Rosa is able to roast the coffee she harvests in a facility near her family’s home. Before, she had to pay for transportation to travel to other villages and pay for roasting the coffee.
The women’s group rents the roasting and grinding machines to community residents and charges 23 cents per pound, which creates extra income for the families.
“Now we know that our lives will be different,” said Romel.
Story and photos by Bianca Solórzano, Communications Officer, Heifer Honduras