Meet Steve Hodges
Retired Electrical Engineer. Entrepreneur. Avid triathalonist. World traveler. And most recently a Semilla Nueva board member.
I had the pleasure of meeting Steve on his recent trip down to Guatemala. Although born and raised in Texas, Steve has spent the majority of his life in Boise, Idaho. It was there that Steve met our director, Curt Bowen, through some family connections. In December 2010, Steve began his involvement with Semilla Nueva. By the next summer he held a fundraiser in their home, and soon his interest, advice, and leadership carried him into a role as a board member.
After spending a week with Steve in the field, I was not only impressed with his enthusiasm for Semilla Nueva’s work but also his fearless attitude taking on the plethora of mosquitoes, intense coastal heat, bumpy dirt roads–all crystalized in his carefree outlook after a nights sleep on a hard cement floor.
As a supporter and board member, Steve was attracted to the idea of checking out Semilla Nueva’s project firsthand, and the Semilla Nueva staff jumped at the chance to share the country, work and people they love so much. So that is how Steve, Curt, myself, our Agronomist Trinidad, and nutritionist Crysta shared a week of farmer visits, meals with plenty of beans and tortillas, and discussions on injustice, famine, hunger and life.
One of the benefits of visiting a project is that one really gets a sense of the day to day operations and the people who benefit. Throughout Steve’s visit, he was welcomed into our farmer’s homes for meals and conversations and truly got a glimpse into the lives of our farmers and our Semilla Nueva staff. His time with us ranged from visiting farmer’s corn and pigeonpea plots, attending meetings on the cost/benefit of not burning their soils after harvest, trying a pigeonpea dish prepared by the women in Semilla Nueva’s Nutrition Program and taking a field trip with the women to harvest some pigeonpea in Conrado de la Cruz.
During his visit, Steve was really able to access the Semilla Nueva farmer to farmer model. “Promoters are great ambassadors. They have been the ones doing much of the talking, and that is exactly what is supposed to be happening. These promoters are proud of their work and want to share it with others,” notes Steve.
Before Steve and I departed ways I asked him what his hope was for our Semilla Nueva farmers and communities. His reply was that there are lots of big problems we might not be able to change in Latin America, like illegal immigration. However, there are tangible things that people can do to help, like what Semilla Nueva is doing on the coast.
He adds that Semilla Nueva has found one way to contribute in a specific region in Guatemala where there is a felt need: agriculture. His hope is that Semilla Nueva continues doing what they are doing- training community leaders who learn by doing and offer technical and educational support to their neighbors.
Steve–Semilla Nueva would like to thank you for your visit and continual support! We hope to see you again down here. And for those interested in volunteering or visiting the work of Semilla Nueva, don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.