When we began working in Matagalpa, Oscar was in the fourth grade. He was a shy boy, with a bright smile and we were all sure he was headed for a bright future. After finishing primary school, Oscar began high school, though adolescence and family difficulties became obstacles. He dropped out of high school during his first year, which was sad and frustrating for all of us. He tried again a second time, the following year, though he again withdrew from school when some personal situations got to be too overwhelming.
Oscar began to work as an apprentice in a carpentry shop, but that option also proved to be unsuccessful. We were all concerned about Oscar and seeking new ideas, to help guide him in his development. He is a committed member of Young Life, so his faith is strong, though he had not found the right opportunity for his personal growth and development.
Finally, we found the solution: bamboo. We had a chance to send two people to a training program, to learn how to make crafts and furniture from bamboo. With his experience in carpentry, we thought that it might be the ideal opening for Oscar…and it was. He became immediately enamored with the bamboo project and demonstrated an incredible amount of skill. Oscar is now heading up our new bamboo workshop, and training five other young men to work with bamboo. They have already started selling some of their designs in local markets and fairs. We are so happy that Oscar finally found his niche and is making great progress towards becoming a skilled craftsman. We still hope that he will get his high school degree, though for the time being, he is steering clear of risks and working hard.