The school in Santa Emilia—located in the community of Santa Emilia, in the municipality of Matagalpa—was built in 1986 by the Rural Workers Assocation (ATC) of Nicaragua in collaboration with the union of construction workers of Finland. The first task for the school was to be a center for the training and political education of trade union leaders from all sectors during the Sandinista Revolution (1979-1990). Since its founding, the school has carried the name of a rural union organizer who was killed by the Contra forces during the war: Rodolfo Sánchez Bustos.
During the 1990s, the school in Santa Emilia became the Rodolfo Sánchez Bustos Agriculture Technical College. There, students are trained to become technicians in animal and crop production. The school also functions as a high school for local youth on Sundays. There is also currently a program being carried out at the school to train community health promoters in all the municipalities of Matagalpa. We have an area of medicinal plants in the school, and there are also areas of corn and bean production, grasses and forage species, and dairy cows. There is also a bin where worms transform cow manure into organic fertilizer.
Today, the Rodolfo Sánchez Bustos Northern Agroecological Insitute has offices, a library, a kitchen and dining hall, an auditorium, a basketball half-court, five classrooms, two dormitories, and two cabins. We have a few caged wild animals: one white-tailed deer and one boar, as well as iguanas. It is also common to find families of sloths that move (slowly) across the trees of the school and the surrounding coffee farms.
To view more photos of Santa Emilia, click here.