Getting To Know You Nicaragua

Jimmy, our El Porvenir leader
Jimmy, our El Porvenir leader

Thanks first to El Porvenir for giving almost 25 years of service to Nicaragua: bringing water, building latrines, planting trees, venting stoves and educating the communities.

In four days we have not only completed our tasks, but have made many friends. Jimmy Membreno is our fearless bilingual El Porvenir leader. We’ve worked with Jimmy before and are thrilled to be with him again. His stories illuminate all corners of Nica life specializing in politics, including reciting poetry of Rubén Darío, and passages from Gabriel Garcia Marquez. He also wields a mean shovel, teaches me how … Read more...

Bringing Water to the Nicaragua – A Land of Glitter and Poverty

Cathedral in Managua
Cathedral in Managua

I’m taking a break from my memoir ‘Life and Deaf ‘ to tell you of my latest adventure volunteering with El Porvenir.

Bob and I arrive in Managua on a prop plane from Costa Rica to participate in our third volunteer ‘brigade’ with the NGO El Porvenir. Our guide Jimmy and driver Jose drive us through town and fill us in on life in Nicaragua. Things have changed drastically since our last volunteering experience with El Porvenir over three years ago. Many historic buildings have been torn down, a la Orwell’s “1984” or barred with tall chain-link … Read more...

El Porvenir/Casas Viejas Update

Baile Folklórico Casas Viejas

El Porvenir’s Impact on the Community – Spring 2011

At the end of El Porvenir’s 5-day Casas Viejas, Nicaragua construction project the community members of all ages and the volunteers celebrated together in the school yard with a piñata for the children, a local band, students performing folkloric dances, and lots of happiness.

The Casas Viejas community received three new latrines, a handwashing station and a re-connected water line to a school that had been without any of these basic needs for many years. In terms of personal relations even more was accomplished. Although all construction … Read more...

The Casas Viejas Project

Sebaco
Sebaco

Back on the road with El Porvenir, a national NGO, we travel the Pan-American Highway, trashed with plastic bags and bottles, through Nicaragua to Sebaco and check in to one of the only hotels. We are in the breadbasket of the country. Fields of sugarcane, rice, beans, peanuts, tomatoes, and at higher elevations, coffee, surround the valley. Semi-trailers and buses carry workers, animals and vegetables to and fro. The town is a trade center disguised as a truck stop with lots of banks, prostitutes and gas stations on a contaminated river.

Sebaco market

The afternoon is free so Bob and I … Read more...

“The Arrival not the Journey Matters.”

The changing face of Nicaragua
The changing face of Nicaragua

Bob and I are on our second trip to Nicaragua, this time to contradict T.S. Eliot’s quote, “The journey not the arrival matters.” We are building three latrines and a hand washing station at the primary (and only) school in the little pueblo of Casas Viejas.  Our first trip to Nicaragua was a joint venture with Water for People and El Porvenir. On our second trip Bob and I are going it alone with El Porvenir. Since our Costa Rica life borders on Nicaragua and the hotly contested Rio San Juan, we’re a bit anxious,

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Feel Good – Help A Local Costa Rican Family in Need

Farmer’s Market Rincon de Uvita, Costa Ballena, Costa Rica open Saturdays 8am – 1pm

p10101882My productivity as a writer is increasing, and when the writing helps those in need, that’s even better. In his book The Geography of Bliss Eric Weiner travels the world looking for the happiest place and/or people who have the essential ingredients of a ‘good life’. A foreign correspondent for National Public Radio (NPR) he is typically expected to discover breaking news, which usually involves death and destruction. As he says, “It’s rewarding work, but can be a real bummer.” So he takes a break from Read more...

Managua, Nicaragua – The End – But Never The End

Staff and volunteers at El Porvenir office
Staff and volunteers at El Porvenir office

We spent our last days back in Managua getting a tour of the main office of El Porvenir, meeting the dedicated staff, getting a taxi tour of the central market, and the highly guarded, decorated and chain-linked waterfront. We climbed the semi-active Volcan Masaya, and ended the experience being taken to dinner by Rob Bell, the director of the El Porvenir office.

Central Market Managua
Central Market Managua
On the Waterfront
On the Waterfront

Taking our last evening walk, we were urged to be in before dark, not to wear jewelry, cameras or purses, and to watch our backs. Read more...