Nicaragua Trip - January 13, 2016

by thomascoons
Jan 26

The following was written by Hannah Conroy, one of the travel team members for the EWB Latin America Chapter, during their January assessment trip to Nicaragua:

One Meeting, Three Languages

We woke up and went to breakfast at the same restaurant down the road for the usual fare. After eating, we walked down to the old church, right next to Pedro's Mother's house, for our meeting with the community leaders of Alamikamba. We had a really good turnout: around 20 people showed up to talk to us, with people varying from the president of the women's organization to the pastor. Alamikamba is an indigenous community and the government structure is complicated. 

The community explained to us how there is a municipal government and a community and territorial government. The municipal government is corrupt and run by people who aren't from the region, and many of the people lamented that government is one of the main problems in the town. People and organizations have come into the town before and attempted projects through the municipal government that always result in failure. The people were happy that we were bypassing the municipality and going straight to the community leaders. The problems in Alamikamba are also complicated, and the leaders identified water, education, and sanitation as the main problems. There is no centralized water system and most houses have a well that dries up on the dry season. During the rainy season, flooding is a problem, and the latrines often flood and contaminate the nearby wells. Finally, the community members want education reform so the community can hold elected positions and solve the problems themselves. 

The meeting was informative and exciting. The community members themselves were excited to organize outside of the municipality. Paige and Luis did the talking and also did a great job translating for Bob and I. The community also speaks the indigenous language Miskito, and at one point a man was talking to Miskito, another man was translating to Spanish, and Paige was translating to English! 

After the meeting, we walked to the dam, a failed project by the municipality. The dam failed after 4 months, did not provide enough water in the first place, and is now used for bathing and washing. 

After eating lunch at the same restaurant, we had a relaxing afternoon of reading, writing, and watching Bob paint. He painted the hunting lodge - it was beautiful!

We went for a walk to the river when the sun was going down. After our walk, we discussed the community and debriefed on the day. A toad crawled up Paige's leg and Bob named him Wilbur. Papaterra brought us out some cocoa - raw cocoa, hot water, and sugar - very good! We went to get dinner, but had waited to long so the restaurant was closed. We weren't that hungry and decided a granola bar would do. On the way back Bob pointed out some constellations and we had a philosophical conversations about the universe. Another early start tomorrow to head back to Siuna! 

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