Edwin and his family barely manage to get by. They live in a two room house with dirt floors. Edwin had to quit his schooling after "middle school" and worked for a year, trying to get ahead so he could continue his education, but the needs of his family were such that he couldn't set anything aside. His father tells him that you don't need an education to make a living, but he disagrees and is determined to go forward. His mother and sister can each bring in about $55 a month, but their expenses are that or higher. Edwin works on weekend for a man who sells corn, but it only helps a little. He picks up other work when he can. He would never be able to continue his education without outside help.
Edwin has been working in the fields since he was a young boy, with his azadón (hoe) and machete. He loves working with the soil and bringing forth crops. He hopes with his education he will be able use his love and his knowledge to work for a community organization training farmers how to raise crops more effectively, and how to prevent diseases and infestations of noxious insects. He is also interested in finding new crops which might provide more income for these marginalized families.
Edwin has hopes that he can finish finish high school and pursue a university degree in agricultural engineering. He has done community service work with children in middle school, setting up test plots where they can grow various vegetable crops like carrots, cabbage, radishes, and cilantro that are outside the traditional corn and beans pattern. This work includes teaching how to use mulch, compost, and organic fertilizer to enhance the crop, as well as techniques to avoid disease and predation.
Despite enormous economic and social difficulties, Edwin is well on his way to better life with the help of Progresa. His determination gives us high hopes that he will be able to better not only the lives of his family, but also of his community and his country ... and a world desperately in need of people who understand agricultural ecology and the need for and techniques of sustainable agriculture.