Update of current crisis: Things in Nicaragua continue to settle down, however, the crisis in not completely over. Right now, the conflict is being played out in the international arena, with those who oppose the government looking for outside help to put pressure on the Ortega government. We feel that economic sanctions from the U.S. government, such as the Nica Act, which just passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday, would most affect the impoverished majority and therefore, should be something that is opposed.
Of course, there is legitimate criticism of the current government, despite the good things that have been accomplished over the years. However, it is clear that a majority support the government because of all of the social programs, and improvements to infrastructure and the economy. Is it also clear that the poor are suffering most from the effects of the current crisis, and from what people tell us, that the majority of Nicaraguans oppose economic sanctions and just want to be able to work and provide for their children.
Moving Forward: We will not abandon our friends in Nicaragua . We will work to keep our programs going, however, it will not be easy. Except for the possibility of two service trips to Costa Rica, the rest of our trips scheduled for 2019 have all been canceled because of the State Department’s travel alert. This means that we are losing approximately $50,000 in service trip support. This will be difficult to recover.
We are grateful for the many generous responses to our fundraising appeals so far, but we still have a long way to go. That is why we are asking you to please consider a monthly donation--any amount will make an impact! With your support. we are committed to maintaining our programs and to supporting our friends at WIA and in La Paz during this difficult time!
New initiatives to sustain our work:
Coffee sales: We hope to expand our coffee sales for 2019 to provide more profits to La Paz farmers, and to also help raise funds for Compas. We have finished our coffee drying greenhouse, which will allow us to dry the coffee much more efficiently. We are still in need of a coffee hulling machine ($2,500) in order to process more coffee. Our hope is to raise this money in the next two months so that we can install the machine and have it ready for the 2018 harvest in November and December.
Trips to Costa Rica. Given the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory to Nicaragua, our scheduled several service trips for 2019 have cancelled. However, we are still able to receive groups and individuals who are interested in visiting Nicaragua. Despite the State Department’s travel advisory, Nicaragua has returned to being one of the safest Central American countries. If you are interested in coming and learning about what has happened and about the current situation, please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org). In some ways, this is the most important time to visit and show our solidarity with the friends we support here. With our extensive networks here in Nicaragua, we can not only garaunteee a safe travel experience, but also a unique, firsthand look into what has happened and how it has affected the people.
Until the travel advisory is lifted, we are also offering service trips to Costa Rica. Through our extensive connections in Costa Rica, including family members and WIA members who now live there, we have developed an interesting and unique trip to Costa Rica. Several WIA members live in a neighborhood called “La Managuita” in San Jose (the capital) which is almost all Nicaraguans. Service trip groups will spend time there working on community projects such as repairing a school’s roof, learning about Nicaraguan migration to Costa Rica, and speaking to Nicaraguans about the current situation in Nicaragua. Groups would also stay at Playa Hermosa right on the Pacific Ocean beach in Northwest Costa Rica and work on a community garden and environmental project.
Bringing Women in Action and La Paz farmers together. Over the years, we have carried out several activities that have brought our two programs together, which have included shared workshops and educational trips, as well as selling the farmer’s produce at the WIA store. In this same spirit and as an effort to bring extra and higher profits to both WIA members and La Paz farmers, we have begun to purchase basic grains from La Paz farmers to be sold at the WIA center and by individual WIA members. We are also using the grains for homemade cereals for WIA children. We have also begun to process the Moringa leaves and oil and sell them to local markets and health food stores. We also hope that WIA can sell these products moving forward.
Micro-lending: Your support has allowed us to provide a microloan to the WIA members during the time of unrest. Some people like Edda and Rosa (pictured here) have used their loan to prepare traditional foods to sell from their homes, while others have used loans to make corn tortillas or cooked beans to sell (including corn and beans purchased from La Paz farmers). These small loans have now been paid back and another round of loans have been provided. These small enterprises have been crucial in helping the women provide food for their children.
Of course, none of this would be possible without your support! We want to share a video with you as a way of saying thanks!