Carlos was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico on October 30, 1973. Since he was 3 he would join his dad, a Scoutmaster, in hikes and campouts, exhibiting a clear love for nature in all its manifestations. His path in Scouting eventually led him to become an Eagle Scout. To those of us who know Carlos, his later decision to join the Peace Corps was the logical consequence, the culmination, of the service he had learned and practiced in Scouting and the love for his neighbors he saw at home and learned in his Christian faith…
He went to the Colegio de Mayagüez of the University of Puerto Rico from which he graduated in 1998 as an Agronomist, specializing in Animal Husbandry. He worked at an Agricultural Experimental Station Farm in Lajas, and in a solid waste characterization project in the west of the island, until he joined the Peace Corps, leaving for training on Fathers Day, 1999. That step confirmed Carlos’ heart for the needy.
His work at El Salvador far exceeded the requirements and the expectations of the Peace Corps. Let’s review some of his accomplishments:
- Reforestation – Germination and planting of trees at El Dorado (former gold mines). Dr. Rolando Barillas, Carlos’ boss, wrote to him after his passing: “With them you planted over 10,000 native trees, which though mute, will speak out for you and for the way you loved nature. Thanks, for that message has also been planted in the minds of those kids which represent the future of Guacotecti.”
- Closing of Guacotecti’s dumpsite, which threatened to pollute the community’s water supply. He had to meet with the Governor of Cabañas upon the Mayor’s initial position to keep it open.
- Carlos organized 6 Children’s Ecological Clubs in the local schools. He offered specific conferences to various groups.
- Grazing grass project with Dr. Venuto from Louisiana State University.
- He organized the Guacotecti Communal Development Association in order to legally empower the Guacotecti Community and give his projects sustainability.
- Co-organized an ecological musical band, which, along with other volunteers, traveled throughout El Salvador raising awareness about the need to protect the environment.
- Provided simultaneous translations for Conferences and Workshops held by “Partners of the Americas”
Listen what the Peace Corps had to say about Carlos:
“…a young man with such initiative, so full of enthusiasm, dreams and commitment for those to whom he offered his huge support with so much pleasure, helping improve their quality of life. Carlos was an exceptional volunteer, who was able to earn the love, respect and trust of everyone in the town of Guacotecti in El Salvador, as well as his fellow friends and staff that worked by him. He was a great teacher, very respected and loved by his students. He was able to get these young people to understand and appreciate how a person’s efforts improves not only their own living conditions, but the lives of others and the environment around them.”
Carlos’ big loves were his family, the sea and its sports, animals, nature and music – founding Sambaigo and composing “El Monte Cemí,” people – specially the innocent and needy, and his beloved Puerto Rico.
In conclusion, let us meditate about the following quotes from Carlos:
- “Let us gather. Following Christ’s steps is quite hard, but we have to accept Him as the only salvation for our souls”.
- “Communicate clearly, through the communication the Lord gave us, and which knows no frontiers: The Holy Spirit”
- “How much I love you!!!”
- “There are many things in this world which require reflection and a focus on the spiritual. MONEY IS NOTHING…”
- “People arrive to our lives for a reason, whether for a period or for a whole lifetime.”
- “Welcome all friends the same way.”
- “Nature comforts me greatly. That is why I always produce my best when I work next to any God-made object.”
- “I want people to see me the same way I see them: capable of anything…with brotherly love and respect”
- ” I want to get so much into my community and friends that we become a single person. I am enormously happy to offer my service to the people of El Salvador”
- “The spirit of a human being is stronger than anything that can happen to it.”
On March 2, 2001, the Eagle took on his highest flight ever, flying and flying higher than the Monte Cemí, until he reached the Father. Carlitos now rests in peace. Amen.