Nicaragua – The Good, Bad and Ugly

Riding the roads in the back of the truck
Riding the roads in the back of the truck

A few statistics on Nicaragua:

· $1028 – Second lowest per capita income in the Americas

· 48% of population live below poverty line

· 30 – 40% of homes have a woman head of household

· President – Daniel Ortega – Sandanista Party – for the 2nd time.

Two of our traveling companions, one from the U.S. and one from Nicaragua, are political history buffs. During our many hours of traveling to and from our survey sites we had plenty of time for lively, interesting, informative discussions on the history, culture and politics of Nicaragua; the latter being incendiary, difficult, multi-faceted, dangerous, murky. What’s the truth? I’m not sure. I can only give you my observations.

Fighting rooster atop ring-legal in Nicaragua
Fighting rooster atop ring-legal in Nicaragua

In the isolated countryside, life goes on as it has for 100’s of years. There’s no time for anything but surviving in the simplest manner. Lack of money, jobs and transportation keeps subsistence farming alive. The simple homes of either handmade clay bricks or gleaned wood are clean.

Our survey was to inspect the condition and use of the latrines (installed in the last two years) and the older water systems in the area surrounding El Sauce. If the results are good, the Water for People funding will continue. And they were.

· Almost all households were headed by women.

· All agreed to allow us to view the latrines and answer questions about use and cleanliness.

· All latrines were clean and most decorated.

· All the people we talked to were friendly, open and educated in water use.

· No households had indoor water or plumbing.

Public school-one teacher for 150 kids
Public school-one teacher for 150 kids

The exception was in public institutions – both schools and health clinics. The older latrines, not installed by El Porvenir and WFP, were in bad condition, generally not functioning. There were few if any supplies or books. The buildings were rundown and in need of repair. When I asked about the sad conditions, I was told that education and health care were free, but the government “won’t put its money where its mouth is.” And “Since they’re “free”, the government won’t accept private funds when offered.” What?

Unusable school latrines
Unusable school latrines

When we returned to Managua, the political center of the country, the contrast was extreme. Nothing like the bucolic countryside filled with simple hard-working people. That’s the next and last story from Nicaragua.

Published by

Jill Green

I’m a lazy writer trying to get tech savvy. I’ve blurted into blogging to get some of my thoughts, cravings, interests, writings out into the web world. I live in Costa Rica and Florida. Most of my somewhat autobiographical writings are about those places. If you’re interested check in.

4 thoughts on “Nicaragua – The Good, Bad and Ugly”

  1. Again a brilliant entry to your blog, Jill. I am enjoying it very much. Hope you and Bob are having fun in CR.

  2. hey J…wow …u amaze me…
    thank you…i am learning so much through your wonder-full eyes…and heart and hands… : )

    back in LA w/ Bill then off to hawaii…im exhausted…layin low today…4/16
    got in last night late..crazy bout the volcano…messed up the airlines…so much of my life these days is about ashes…hoping the HAwaii volcano that is flowing to the sea does not go off…need a break…

    love to you and all the fab fam…
    ALOHA
    V

  3. Wow! Another amazing adventure in your journeying. Where did you get all that grit from? I’m so inspired by your can do attitude! No matter what set backs may lurk, you plunge forward, confident that your wits will allow you to successfully manage whatever arises. I think I got some of that quality from the family genes, too, but I don’t yet have the courage to test it as you do. Glad to know you will continue to inspire me and somehow, I’ll realize some similar potential one day… Thank you for getting out in the world and learning about these people and places, paying forward even as the majority of the global north still plods along blindly on a wasteful path of ignorance.

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