It’s been a tough year for Nicaragua. Political turmoil has affected every aspect of life, and that includes our work. We continue to maintain our policy of remaining apolitical, but there’s no denying the impact that this conflict has had and will continue to have on the poorest communities of Nicaragua, including the rural communities where we work. Nevertheless, there are silver linings that can be found among these dark clouds, and for us, they are the people that make up the Sister Communities of San Ramón. So, while there is much to lament, here are some of the people that we are thankful for this year:
All the donors who have supported our work, especially Mr. Robert Schmitz, who donated $20,000 to build a school in the rural community of El Flores this year. (You can see pictures of the construction process, from the outdoor classroom to the inauguration of the new building, on our Flickr page.) Whether it be a donation for a school construction, Los Pipitos, a latrine project, or a Rural School Partnership, – we absolutely could not do any of it without your support. Your generosity allows us to continue to support the people of San Ramón.
The volunteers in Durham and the Triangle Area who sell coffee, crafts, and honey to help us raise money. Also, those who have been to San Ramón on one of our eco-tours and have kept the enthusiasm in your community alive by sharing information about San Ramón with your friends, family, and acquaintances. You maintain that human connection that is at the heart of what we do.
Our volunteer Board of Directors. You all dedicate your time and energy because you care about the people of San Ramón and you believe in our mission and vision.
The community leaders that propose projects to us and help us coordinate community participation. All of our projects require community buy-in, usually in the form of labor and/or materials. It takes a special kind of leadership to convince people who are barely getting by to give up a day’s wage on the promise that their labor will be reciprocated by us, and yet we have had the fortune to work with such leaders again and again. They are the reason our projects are so successful.
Our local volunteer Advisory Committee, or Comité. These folks are community leaders that help us weigh and prioritize different projects, deciding what will have the most significant impact on the lives of San Ramonians. It requires them to take a larger view and look beyond their own community’s immediate needs to that of the entire municipality (San Ramón is a “municipio”; read this previous blog post for more on Nicaraguan geopolitical divisions).
Even amidst the difficulty and uncertainty that is life now in Nicaragua, there are people whose energy, commitment, and enthusiasm create hope for the future. From all of us to all of you, thank you.