Hope Grows in a Greenhouse
Pastor Leandro lives in the Pehuenche community located high in the Andes Mountains in the region of Alto Bio Bio in Southern Chile. For Leandro, working as a pastor is a major sacrifice. Pastors do not receive pay and are expected to live off the tithes of their church congregation. Most families in this region work as subsistence farmers and do not earn a typical wage, so the tithe often comes in the form of produce or a live chicken. When food is scarce in the winter months, many have nothing to give.
It is also customary in this region that whenever a family receives a visitor, they offer something to eat or drink as a sign of respect. A sure sign of poverty is when a family does not offer anything to their visitors. When Bright Hope first came to Alto Bio Bio, Pastor Leandro and his family were hesitant to invite us into their home because they had nothing to offer.
In the past year, Bright Hope has partnered with Pastor Leandro and 42 other families in the region to build greenhouses on their land. The greenhouses allow them to grow produce outside the short growing season, increasing food production throughout all months of the year. Pastor Leandro received basic agricultural training and the tools needed to construct a greenhouse for his family. Under his watchful care, the produce has grown very well, and Leandro is eager to learn more about agriculture and share his knowledge with others in his community.
Recently, staff from Bright Hope visited Alto Bio Bio, where Pastor Leandro invited them into his home and offered fresh vegetables from his greenhouse, along with bread and tea. His family was so happy to be able to share what they had. Because they are now able to receive visitors into their home with open arms, they have a renewed sense of pride and dignity. That is the Hope that greenhouses and other agricultural projects are bringing to the region of Alto Bio Bio in Chile.