Anyone who has visited Rancho el Paraiso in the last 19 years has enjoyed the cooking of HOI’s Kitchen Manager, María Luisa “Rosa” Cano Rivera. She was interviewed in Honduras by Waly Ruiz, Managerial Secretary of Rancho el Paraiso.
Waly Ruiz: Where are you from originally?
Rosa Cano: I’m from the village of Paso Real, in the department of Jinotega in Nicaragua.
WR: Where did you receive your primary education?
RC: I didn’t receive a primary education since I grew up during a civil war.
WR: How did you come to be here in San Esteban?
RC: I left Nicaragua during the civil war seeking refuge in Honduras, in the base of El Aguacate in Catacamas. I arrived in San Esteban to work with Mr. Erlindo Calderón.
WR: Why does everyone call you Rosa?
RC: That was the pseudonym that I used during the war.
WR: When did you receive your Honduran citizenship? What was that process like?
RC: It was in the year 2001. It was rather difficult, but thanks to Mirian Paz, who is now deputy to the National Congress for the Department of Olancho, I was able to acquire my Honduran citizenship.
WR: When did you first return again to Nicaragua? How was that experience?
RC: I think it was in 2002. It was beautiful. I had gone 16 years without seeing my mother. I was able to see her alive again, and my family, after so many years. They had not heard news of me in years.
WR: Do you ever wish you could live there again?
RC: No, because difficult things happened there. I like to go there on vacation to visit my family, but there are stronger bonds that make me want to stay in Honduras and not in Nicaragua. Plus my children and husband are also Hondurans.
WR: What is your family like?
RC: My husband and I have dedicated ourselves to pastoral ministry and evangelism. I have two daughters and a son, and all have grown up with strong beginnings. I am very happy and proud of my family.
WR: How long have you worked for HOI?
RC: I’ve worked for HOI for 19 years, starting in 1995.
WR: How did you become Kitchen Manager?
RC: I began working for HOI by cleaning the dormitories, but I liked to involve myself in the kitchen, always helping out there. That was how the managers discovered that I was a talented cook.
WR: When you reflect on so many years with HOI, how do you feel about your time here? What do you enjoy most?
RC: I feel very happy with everything that I’ve accomplished in my work. I enjoy serving those who need it, in the best way possible. My contribution to the community is to offer service to the volunteers and employees of HOI, who then directly help the communities around us.
WR: Have the volunteers and employees of HOI brought changes to this area that you’ve observed in your time here?
RC: Yes, you can see changes in the level of education, better hygiene in the communities that participate in educational workshops, and improvements in infrastructure.
WR: What are your plans for the future?
RC: To continue living with a high quality of life with my family, to continue with the ministry, and to grow in Him.
Show Rosa and the Rancho el Paraiso cooking staff your appreciation in the comments below!