The Nivaclé-Manjui are a community who were driven away by landowners from their home lands near the river Pilcomayo about 30 years ago. After a temporary stay in an overcrowded village on the fringe of the Mennonite Colony of Neuland, they moved to land financed by our Foundation in 1999. There they founded the village of Yacacvash. Today the community comprises about 55 families.

In the past 12 years this community has been developing in an astonishing way. With the financial help of the state and various organisations they have built small brick houses for each family, a school, a church and a meeting house. Each family has a vegetable garden and is responsible for part of the communal fields, where beans, pumpkins, sesame, castor-oil plants and sometimes cotton are grown. Most of the work in these fields is done by hand. The profits made on the communal land are used to maintain a tractor and some simple agricultural machines, to improve the infrastructure of the village and to pay health-insurance premiums. Recently, they have also started to raise cattle on a small scale to ensure that the community can be supplied with meat and milk.

What are the reasons for this success? One is certainly the powerful and incentive spirit with which the leaders and members of the community fought for their land and later for a solid basis of subsistence. This spirit is still very much alive. Another reason is the help they received from some neighbouring Mennonite farmers, who were impressed by the zeal and determination displayed by these people when preparing the ground for their new village. One of them is Ernst Neufeld, whom they asked to be their chief adviser. He not only gave them advice in matters of growing different crops, but has also been helping them to market the produce and to manage the profits to this day.