Our Story: Eriberto Rivera
by: Louis Deas
There are so many amazing stories that come out of HOI’s mission and work in Central America. These stories help shape our overarching narrative of change and transformation in areas in the regions that we serve. Transformation not only takes place in the hearts and lives of those we partner with, but also in the lives of those who help make the mission possible and keep transformation in motion. One of those dedicated individuals is Eriberto Rivera, HOI’s recently promoted Director of Economic Development and Gardening, and former HOI scholarship recipient.
Eriberto has always been a hard worker and determined to succeed in life. He was born and raised in the village of Corral Viejo in San Esteban to a family of modest means. His father was a farmer and his mother took care of the home and her six children. “We didn’t have much,” says Rivera, “but we had love.” This understanding and appreciation of family, community, and self-determination would help shape Eriberto’s vision for his future and his career ambitions.
Eriberto, or Eddie, as he likes to be called by his American friends, learned early in life that education was a major pathway toward success. Earlier in his youth, he wasn’t a fan of going to school, but after seeing the impact that it had on his sisters he had a change of heart. “I watched my sisters who moved to Tegucigalpa to work and continue their studies. They went to school and worked toward a better life than we had out in the fields. So I wondered to myself, ‘Why can’t I have the same?’” With a new sense of achievement and determination, Eriberto began to double down his efforts in school and began to work harder than ever, striving to make the best grades that he could.
His family was very supportive of his academic pursuits and pushed him to continue chasing his dreams. Due to his family’s financial situation, however, his parents were not able to afford the school’s cost of attendance. Rather than giving up, Eriberto took it upon himself to go to school and go to work in order to pay for his tuition. Once he finished 9th grade, he received a scholarship from HOI to attend high school to study agriculture and technology. Thanks to the HOI scholarship, he no longer had to split his time between work and school and was able to devote 100% of his time to education.
Upon graduating high school, Eriberto spent a few years working for a dairy processing facility, but was unable to continue his studies due to scheduling conflicts. Rather than allowing negative circumstances to dictate his future, he chose to persevere and find other avenues to accomplish his goals. Thankfully, those other avenues led him to HOI.
In 2007, Eriberto began working for HOI as an Agriculture and Gardening Assistant and began using the skills he learned in school to help improve the lives of residents in the local villages. Working for HOI not only gave him the opportunity to grow as a professional, but it also provided him the space and time that he needed to return to school and earn a degree. In 2008, Eriberto relaunched his academic pursuit and began working towards a degree in Business Engineering. As a result of his hard work and education, he was promoted to Agriculture Coordinator in 2011, and most recently was promoted to Director of the Economic Development Program. This newly founded economic development program aims to bring progress and development to the Agalta Valley through the creation and development of small businesses and other economic growth projects.
Eriberto is a sterling example of the possibilities that lie ahead when residents of the Agalta Valley, especially young people, are empowered to take their future into their own hands. Through hard work, education, and opportunity Eriberto is taking steps to live the life that he has chosen for himself and is in turn helping others to do the same. “Now I can say with confidence to young people that community development first begins in the homes, with a solid family foundation. We must work hard to get an education, because it is one of the pillars to developing our communities.”
This is but one of many of the countless stories that come out of our larger story of transformation and development. Our prayer is that your life has been changed in some way by HOI’s ministry and we hope that you continue to stay involved and impact the lives of others.