Didier Bolaños González
Class of 2012-2015
City/Town: Tablón de Gómez
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Didier comes from a small agricultural town in southwestern Colombia. His father works in the production of cassava, plantains, corn, and coffee on farms in the area, and his mother is a homemaker. Didier’s two younger sisters have continued on to high school, and he fully supports their dreams of success in life. Didier is not only a first-generation college student, but he is also one of only two students out of 100 in his graduating class to continue his education at the university level. In addition, he has played an active role in the church, his community’s central organization.
In the face of tremendous challenges, Didier’s academic excellence attests to his true love of learning. Two major personal hardships he has experienced include the destruction of his home by a flood, and at the age of 17, having to support his mother and siblings when his father temporarily moved a great distance away to find work. In order to do so, Didier began to make and sell ice cream. He managed to take care of his family’s needs for four months, and in the process, he learned about connecting his responsibilities with action. During high school, Didier helped construct an agro-tourism kiosk, volunteered with pastoral services in his community, and played soccer. He also took several extracurricular courses on subjects including agrotourism, leadership, conservation and sustainable production. He was also disabled for a month after being mugged and stabbed, but the injury did not hinder his studies. Despite all his hardships, he mastered his coursework, earned the respect of his professors and fellow students, and played on the select soccer team. He speaks Spanish and has a strong desire to learn English. He loves playing soccer and other sports and participating in cultural activities through which he can serve others.
Didier’s love of farming began during his childhood, when he planted, cared for and harvested the family’s crops with his father. He later gained more experience when he carried out research on Andean fruit trees and did a study on peanut cultivation in his community, which he used to improve its practices. In addition, Didier helped to organize the first Agro-diversity Fair of the Andes, in the city of Pasto. Here at EARTH, he loves the hands-on experience his classes offer and appreciates living in a multicultural community. He hopes to return to his home community and create a sustainable, innovative agricultural business that will offer his community a “worthier future.”