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By Maryknoll Lay Missioner Ann Greig:
Ann with Tatiana, the youngest member of the Nietos family
The Nietos are one of 50 families who participate in the Soy Program in San Salvador. This ministry, now celebrating its 20th year, provides a daily supply of soy milk and other soy products at very low cost for families in need. The enterprise requires 100lbs of soy every week to maintain these offerings! Costs are kept low for families that participate in the program ($6 monthly for soy milk) to ensure nutrition is accessible.
Unfortunately, El Salvador is currently suffering one if the worst droughts in 44 years. It is calculated that the country will suffer a loss of more than $82 million in basic grains. Due to the fact that a lot of families literally live off what they produce, the priority of the Ministry of Agriculture is to take care of the nutrition of the families. Therefore, it has distributed packages of seeds for planting. Meanwhile, International Cooperation, OXFAM and Save the Children have each distributed food to affected areas. We offer nutrition and education through our Soy Program, and those who benefit from it and they are grateful to have the support for their families.
The family of Los Nietos: In front, right to left Ellias 8yrs, Tatiana 8 mo, Esaul 4 yrs, the mother, Carolina in the back row.
The Family of Los Nietos is one of those beneficiaries of the Soy Program in San Ramon, San Salvador; they have been with the program for six months.
Manuel, the family’s father, is a bus driver for public transportation. Carolina, his wife, is a house mother and also is studying to complete her last year of high school. Elias is the oldest son and is in second grade. Esaul the younger son is four years old and Tatiana is nine months; both are not yet of school age.
Carolina and Elias participate in the computer classes offered by the Soy Program as another education opportunity, and both are good students.
Everyone enjoys the soy milk and products except Esaul. He only likes the soymilk when it is prepared with rice or oatmeal. Manuel loves the soymilk and he makes sure that Carolina picks up the soymilk and products every day. If she is running errands, Manuel calls her to remind her to pick up the soymilk.
The Soy Program is a tremendous support as a supplement for food expenses; many times the soymilk and product is sufficient for the family’s dinner. And with the current price of red beans being $1.30/pound, the soy provides an excellent source of protein and carbohydrates.
Professor Josefina with glasses, weighing Tatiana and showing student how to weigh small children

Erik Cambier
Erik Cambier served as Maryknoll lay missioner for 25 years, in Tanzania, the United States, Venezuela and El Salvador.