Computers From Cacao

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He used to have to take a bus for over an hour one way just to use a public computer for his homework. Thanks to the sale of their cacao, Harvin Martinez, Jr. got a laptop. Now he can do homework--at home.

Better still, that laptop allowed Martinez to apply for and receive a computer class scholarship in the town of La Dalia! The new skills he’ll learn will not just help his family efficiently track the harvest, sale, and ROI of their cacao, but will also open up a wide range of professional opportunities for Martinez. Our in-country staff member Jonathan sat down with Martinez to talk about it:

Q: What is your full name?

A: Harvin Antonio Martinez Blandon

Q: How old are you?

A: 14. I started my fourth year of secondary school in February.

Q: Do you have brothers & sisters?

A: Yes. I have a little brother named Jestin, and my little sister is named Harlin.

Q: Where do you live?

A: Its part of La Colonia near Rancho Grande, but we call our neighborhood Bate de America.

Q: Are there a lot of folks that live here in the neighborhood?

A: The neighborhood is growing because this is where the land is more stable to build a house. We moved here after there was a landslide in Naranjal. I have about 30 neighbors right here, and there are a lot of other kids my age.

Q: How did you become interested in computers?

A: I always saw computers on TV and sometimes people use them in the stores when we buy things, but I never really thought that I would be able to have one of my own. When Enliven helped us with the purchased of several computers in the community, I really started to get interested in all the different programs that I saw on the computer.

Q: How long have you been studying computers?

A: I started with Enliven on basic courses last year, but I received a scholarship this year to continue studying in La Dalia.

Q: What are you studying in La Dalia with the computers?

A: We study how to use them in things like business and at home.

Q: How did you receive the scholarship?

A: Since I had access to a computer here in the community, and I had already learned some basic items, they gave me a scholarship.

Q: How much would the course be if you were paying for it?

A: It cost about $20 a month.

Q: Do you have plans to continue studying computers?

A: Yes. Its what I want to study in University.

Q: Do you have plans to work with computers some day?

A: Yes. I want to open up my own computer shop one day. Maybe I can program computers or offer a place where others can use computers, but I think there is a lot of potential for jobs with computers in the future.

Q: What does your family think about your plans?

A: Well, now my little brother wants to study computers too so maybe one day we'll have a family business!

Q: How are you using the computer that Enliven brought to the community since you started the course in La Dalia?

A: Well, I have a lot of homework and actually I don't think I would have been able to study if I didn't have the computer because La Dalia is the closest place to use computers and it takes more than an hour on a bus to get there.

Q: Is there anything else that would help you accomplish your goal of learning to program computers or open up a shop some day?

A: Internet! Maybe one day we'll have a connection in the community. Its actually available here but its too expensive for my family.

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Eric Hiller