Maryeli lives with her father, Angel Serafin Lopez Ubeda, 42, and her mother, Melania Isabel Chavarria, 40. Her parents are also part of the program carried out by LWR and funded by Farmer Brothers. Through their participation with local cooperative, Aldea Global, they have been able to access credit to make improvements to their farm and their home. The latest project is a new, expanded kitchen, which her father is building himself.
Maryeli and her mother say they have especially appreciated the fact that, in addition to agricultural themes, the program also includes training in gender equity.
"Men should not have exclusive power to make decisions in the house, because there are many men who are machistas (male chauvanistsa), and don’t give any power to the women," Maryeli says. "In the workshops one of the objectives is to change the mentality of people, to have a more equitable mentality between men and women...So realizing that and adapting to that is difficult for a lot of men."
Maryeli says the project has inspired her to pursue a four-year technical degree — in agronomy, of course — which requires a two-hour motorcycle ride to the city of Jinotega several times a week.
With youthful enthusiasm, she clearly sees the road ahead.
“I’d like to have a farm of my own,” she says. “And run it by myself.”