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Participant Profile: Maria Elisa Blandon

The following story is from Maria Elisa Blandon, a participating farmer in the community of La Grecia (Nicaragua).

In 2010, a community technician came to our small town and asked if we were interested in joining a forest plantation project with native trees in our area. At first it was hard for me to believe that they would pay us to reforest our own land, and that the project was high quality and long term, as most of the projects that come to Nicaragua have short-term goals.

I am very grateful to the project for the support that they give us, and the opportunity to work closely with Taking Root. They give us the chance to create our own jobs from ecosystem service payments; money that we did not get before. They have come to help us use the parts of our lands that were not giving us any benefits before.

The project also gave me a long-term loan without interest to finance the launch of my plantation and build a fence around my trees to protect them from my cattle. The most important thing in this project is that the team of community technicians aids us in every activity that we need to do. We have good communication with them and we can support each other.

I see a positive future for us. I am grateful to them and the companies that ensure that this funding is possible. The project helps my family feel better, and gives me a chance to create a greener Nicaragua and make a living without leaving my homeland, while creating jobs for my community.

I think of the future when I can look out the window and see my grandchildren sitting under one of the huge trees we have planted. I see that this is now possible – it is no longer a dream but a reality. So we continue to plant trees.

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