NEWS FROM NICARAGUA
We recently updated you on a great story from the community of Buena Vista, where leaders were trained and were able to get a well dug in their community! Previous to this families had been carrying water from up to one-quarter of a mile to their homes. (To read this story, click here.)
Today, Buena Vista the leadership of Buena Vista is facing a new challenge, how to combat a severe drought affecting their community.
The average, the rainfall in August is usually over 40 inches, however in August they only received 1.5 inches of rain. The rain in September was also close to a record low. This means that farmers lost their first cycle of crops and there are increasing concerns that the second (and last) crop cycle of the year will be lost as well.
Most farmers rely on their crops to feed their families. Without a harvest, their families have nothing to eat.
Families in the area have been selling their cattle and other farm animals for money to buy food.The spike in farm animal sales has caused their price to drop, while at the same time, the price of basic grains has increased.
“We, in our hearts, feel for the rest of the community… we worry when families run out of food,” says Teodora Velásquez. Though not officially part of the community leader team, this grandmother of 43 (and great-grandmother of 17) knows that many families in the community can only afford to eat one or two meals a day.
As the community leaders recount the difficulties that most are facing due to the lack of rain, Hugo Nicaragua explains that they are “thinking about working together to grow some watermelons.”
As a last resort, to combat the severe drought, the fields previously planted with rice and other grain crops that failed during the previous growing cycle will be planted with watermelon. This fruit is resistant to drought and if the community works together to irrigate and tend to the field, in about 90 days they might find some relief in the sale and consumption of the fruit.
Together, with the newly formed leadership in the community, villagers are working to take care of each other.
The community leaders of Buena Vista have made amazing progress given they are only in their first year of training with CEPAD. With three more years of training left they plan on taking on many more projects to benefit the lives of the villagers.
As the community gathers to work on this new project spearheaded by the community leaders, we at CEPAD are reminded to pray and encourage these farmers. As Paula Velásquez, a member of the community development committee, pointed out: “Even a positive word of encouragement will help us breathe!”
Please join us as we pray for rain and support for these farmers.
Fatima Cruz stands in front of her humble stone house with her two children, Harry and Alicia who participated in youth programs through CEPAD and are now more outgoing as they learned new social skills through playing soccer.
With your support CEPAD began working in El Guineo in 2009 and youth volunteers from the community identified many needs for children ages 7-12. They determined that soccer was one of the best ways to reach out and help these children overcome their challenges.
Fatima is excited to see the changes that CEPAD’s program made in her children. “They used to be shy, they didn’t like talking with other children, but now they are more outgoing with other kids and are doing better in school.”
Some of these kids come from broken homes and have been subject to verbal and physical abuse. For others, the combination of rural living and few opportunities to interact with people outside of their village, mean that many children are shy or have poor social skills. As they learn the sport, interact with other youth from their village and visit other communities it helps them to learn better social skills and improves the likelihood that they will be successful in the future.
“The teams provide 15 children in every community with the opportunity to learn to work together and relate to children in other communities,” explains Maykeling Martínez, who heads the psychosocial project.
The idea to form a soccer league was well received and replicated in seven of the surrounding villages close to El Castillo. The league not only created community teams, but also organized them into playing small tournaments in the area.
Fatima is thankful for your support and is hopeful that these programs will continue so that other children may also benefit. “I hope you will continue working with kids, so that, like my children have come out ahead, others can do the same.”
So far the project has shown great success in the development and growth of the children. We are so thankful for you, as you continue to support these projects for youth development. Watch the video below of Fatima, Harry and Alicia.
A few years ago the 90 families of Buena Vista were suffering from lack of access to potable water; they shared just a handful of artisan-made wells scattered throughout the village.
Many families had to walk over a ¼ mile to carry back the vital liquid to their homes and farms.
A well had been dug by The US Army and tubing had been installed by the Japanese government, but the pump failed shortly after it was installed, and the community remained without water for almost two years.
Justo Cerda explains that thanks to just a year of training in community leadership through CEPAD, they have already made huge progress.
The community leadership found they could come together and find a solution to this and other issues if they worked together. They requested that the local government install a new pump, and within a few weeks saw the project come through!
However, along with the pump a new problem arose. The electricity wires running from the main lines to the well had been stolen over the two years that it wasn’t in service. It took the community leadership committee more than three months to convince the electric company to run new wires.
The community leaders also developed a payment plan so that the benefited families can cover the monthly electricity costs of running the pump.
Paula, one of the community leaders explains how they “needed to wake up and act.” That is exactly what they have done in their small but welcoming village.
The new pump has been working flawlessly for the past the months and is now giving all families in the village access to clean water.
With your support the leaders in Buena Vista will continue to learn how to advocate for the needs in their village.
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