In Guatemala, a Grandfather Is Working Today so His Grandchildren Will Have Water Tomorrow

Nolverto’s story was originally featured in our 2013-2014 annual report. Read the full report online here!

Nolverto Troches

Nolverto Troches Cárcamo is a grandfather, a minister, a community leader, and a staunch environmentalist in San Juan, Izabal, Guatemala

Nolverto Troches Cárcamo is a vocal community leader and minister within the small village of San Juan in the rural department of Izabal in eastern Guatemala. But Nolverto thinks of himself first and foremost as a father and a grandfather, and it is his love for children that has inspired him to become a staunch advocate for environmental conservation. “I’m an old man,” he says with a laugh, “and there’s only so much that’s within my power.”

“But if old men like me choose to set a bad example by cutting down trees, what kind of future are we creating for our children?!”

“I want my children and grandchildren to enjoy the forests. I want them to know the joy of being in a forested place. It’s our duty to take care of tomorrow today. I want there to be water left for my grandchildren!”

Nolverto’s concerns about water are well founded. In San Juan and other nearby communities in the lower Sarstún River basin, clean water can be scarce due to pollution, deforestation, and the pressures of a growing population. Nolverto sees wells and streams get drier with each passing year.

While Nolverto would be working to make positive change in his community no matter the circumstances, he thanks EcoLogic for bringing resources and opportunities to poverty-stricken Izabal. In such a remote part of Guatemala, community members often feel forgotten by the government. “EcoLogic has always supported us, and never forgets us,” he says.

Children in Izabal watch an agroforestry training

Children of farmers from San Juan and neighboring villages in Izabal sit in on a training in agroforestry techniques.

Our partner in Izabal is the Mayan Association for Well-Being in the Sarstún Region (APROSARSTUN), which EcoLogic helped establish in 2007. APROSARSTUN is a youth-driven organization whose mission is to improve local livelihoods while conserving the environment. Nolverto believes that many of our collaborations, including fuel-efficient stoves, reforestation, and agroforestry, are already helping preserve the area’s water and clean the air. He has adopted these projects enthusiastically: His home boasts a new fuel-efficient stove, and he and his wife grow crops using agroforestry techniques in their yard. Nolverto has encouraged many of his neighbors to overcome their initial skepticism and try out the new stoves and agroforestry. “We’ll always need to breathe the air! It’s the most necessary thing in the world!” he says, speaking enthusiastically about the fuel-efficient, properly vented stoves that EcoLogic and APROSARSTUN build and install in families’ homes.

With his mind always on his grandchildren’s future, seeing the youth of APROSARSTUN step up and take on impressive leadership roles within their communities has brought Nolverto great joy—and hope. “The youth here are such good examples for their parents,” he laughs. It is the opportunities he believes that EcoLogic is bringing to the young people of his community that make him more excited than anything else. “I am always thinking about my grandchildren’s future,” he says. “Always.”


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