I wait patiently outside the student center on a rainy day for her to arrive. After a few minutes pass, she arrives, clearly exhausted. Fátima Barreto approached the table quickly, and she seemed to be in a rush; she had just arrived at the university from running errands, all in preparation for the following week. The event was, of course, 5 Días con Nuestra Tierra, the yearly agricultural festival held here at UPRM, which she is presiding this year for its 40th anniversary. As soon as I met her, Fatima’s friendly disposition and clear passion for what she does made this particular interview one to remember.
Fátima, pictured here at MUSA.
Although she is in her sixth year here, the Agricultural Sciences major has been a part of 5 Días since her first year here. “I started out in the general committee during my first year and moved up, eventually becoming coordinator and president of the activity” she explained, adding that she has always enjoyed working with agriculture. So much so, in fact, that she is even working on getting her certification in agricultural education in order to become a teacher. She is also an avid reader and loves to travel, and she’s even an athlete! She explained that “I love playing football, anything that gets me out on the field sounds great to me.” Talk about multifaceted, am I right?
The 5 Días Con Nuestra Tierra festival started off with humble beginnings.“It started as a small thing in the Piñero lobby, and many of its founding members are now professionals in the field of agriculture”, and it began with the purpose of educating people about agriculture within the space of the university. As it kept growing, more and more accommodations were made until it began to be held next to the Mangual coliseum, with a massive field full of kiosks and amusement rides for everyone to enjoy. “We dedicate ourselves to providing a safe space for everyone to learn about and appreciate what our soil can produce, and also to inform people about the innovations in the field.”
Image via Primera Hora.
Since it is a very important anniversary for 5 Días, Fátima has not held back on preparations to make it an event to remember Among the many partnerships this year, which include collaborations with the San Francisco de Asís Sanctuary, MUSA and many agriculture-related businesses, this year 5 Días is partnering with Relay for Life: “we will have different educational activities to create cancer awareness,” Fátima explains, “as well as different shirts of various colors related to a type of cancer every day so that people can become more acquainted with what is clearly a massive issue.” She also hinted at various surprises and new kiosks where people can try new and exciting foods and shop for fresh veggies. “We have a few exotic surprises in store for those who enjoy picking up produce at the event.”
All in all, after my talk with Fátima, it’s clear to me that this year’s festival is definitely one worth checking out, not just because of the nice open space, but because of the noble cause they have adopted thank to Relay for Life. The experience is a lovely one, and all the cool kiosks and small shops pretty much ensure that you will not come out empty handed from the event (have you SEEN those lemonades?!). I will most certainly be there