Friday, October 29, 2010


Twice a week Manna Project Nica helps out with a feeding program that is hosted by the Augusts. Kathy August and Halle August are a married couple that have been doing mission work here for the past 7 years. They were an integral part in the starting of MPI Nica and even helped us find the Manna House to rent when we were just starting. The Augusts own the spaces that we use to run the majority of our programs in Cedro Galan and Chiquilistagua. Not only do the Augusts do phenomenal work in the community, but they're also the nicest people you'll ever meet.

After a good nutritious meal from the feeding program, MPI runs a little teeth-brushing program, where we give out toothbrushes and toothpaste to the children. Although it is only a small program and a small part of what we do, it is still very important. Many of the children here do not brush their teeth on a regular basis. For many families the extra cost of toothpaste is too much. It's crazy how you can bear witness to so much poverty, yet when you hear a simple explanation that a mother has to choose between toothpaste or food, you suddenly feel like you're seeing life here for the first time all over again.

Will making sure the right kids get the right toothbrushes



Jimmy, Hamilton, & Daniel
(don't mind Luke in the background, he has a bronchial-pneumonia right now)

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday, October 15, 2010


When I first arrived in Nicaragua I was ambivalent about drinking the tap water. Before departing I had dutifully gone to the travel clinic where I updated all my shots and of course got thoroughly warned about all of the exotic sicknesses that can be contracted in Latin America. Many of these sicknesses can be acquired by drinking contaminated water. In the Manna house I noticed that the old PDs were drinking from both the tap and a purified water jug. I asked around about this and learned that the tap water in Managua is reportedly treated the same way that tap water is in the United States. So, the argument here has been that maybe the water won't make you sick now, but in ten years or so maybe then you'll start seeing the consequences. In response to that worry I went to asked about drinking tap water in Managua to Amira to which she replied, "I've been here for 10 years and I've been drinking the tap water and I'm fine." Nonetheless, this does not carry off to outside of Managua, where bottled water is a must.
During my first two weeks in Managua while I was signed up for intensive Spanish school, I did a homestay. During my homestay I quickly learned something about the water realities for the people and families living in Managua, that most nights at around 6pm the water is turned off. After the water is turned off they use barrel that is filled during the day to flush the toilet, wash dishes, etc. There were many a nights were I would return from a day of 4 hours of Spanish school and an afternoon of exploring the city to a big bucket of water for a shower. Don't get me wrong, at that point I was thankful to be able to get clean. But, that experience got me thinking, if the water is regulated and restricted in such a way in the main city, what is it like for people living in more rural areas? After a little bit of research I've learned that there are many pueblos (villages/neighborhoods) that still do not have safe drinking water, not only in rural areas of Nicaragua, but in Managua too. Many of the community members that we work with in Cedro Galan and La Chureca don't have working toilets or running water. Without a proper sewage system, human waste will often contaminate water in the surrounding neighborhood, leaving the inhabitants permanently with parasites and in a weakened state.
Although Managua is on the right track with proper water sanitation with tap water, it still has a lot more development that needs to take place in order for all of Nicaragua's inhabitants to have access clean and safe drinking water.

Principe(or Prince in english) here, like many Nicaraguans,
has no choice but to drink untreated groundwater

the floods in La Chureca contaminate the roads and water
with harmful parasites and bacteria

To learn more about Blog Action Day and what you can do to help give the world access to clean water
please visit:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Petitions by|Start a Petition »
Blog Action Day 2010 is on October 15th this year.
Stay tuned for a blogpost about water in Nicaragua.
Please sign this petition in support of the UN's effort
to bring clean and safe water
to those who don't have easy access to it!

Friday, October 8, 2010


Every Tuesday and Thursday in Cedro Galan we host a children's Creative Arts Class that teaches everything from painting and jewelry making, to drama. The class size averages at around 12 children from ages 2-12yrs old. With such a wide range of ages in the class lesson planning has proven to be especially difficult. To accommodate all of the students many of the lesson plans are modified to be easier or more difficult. For example when we do beadwork, we use giant beads that are easy to put on string (for the little ones) and tiny seed-beads with tiny holes that are more difficult to work with for the older students. At many of the children's schools art is not considered an integral aspect of an education, so it is a little tricky trying to teach creativity. The children have little patience or confidence in their ability to make artwork and often can be heard saying "no puedo" or "I can't do it." We combat this with lots of encouragement and a regular exposure to all things creative. The program has been running for two months now and we are very slowly beginning to see improvements in these areas. My hopes for this program is to foster and nurture the arts in a place where they are often overlooked.




Sunday, October 3, 2010


There are only two seasons in Nicaragua. There is rainy season/Winter which lasts from May-Dec and there is dry season/Summer which takes place from Jan-April. Managua normally receives 182mm of rainfall in September. However last month there was at least 300mm of rain.
Amira, who has lived here the past 10 years has also said that she has never seen rains like this before. The roads in the community that consist mainly of mud and in some places strategically placed rocks are being destroyed by this rainfall. Children who have been playing in community roads that have morphed into small rivers have been tragic victims of drownings and a total of 40 people have died so far due to the heavy rains. Already isolated neighborhoods are becoming even harder to enter and exit. Coastal towns and towns that boarder the lakes are having to be evacuated. Sections of La Chureca have been flooded, leaving community member's small abodes in ruins. The heavy rains are literally crippling the city. They also have a large effect on the programs we run. When it rains here it's as if all of Managua's life is put on pause. People remain wherever they are and wait for the rains to stop. Many community members don't even own rain jackets and only a few have umbrellas. Although this season there has been much more rain than normal, I find myself confused to Managua's inability to deal with it. Houses are built right on the dirt and flood at least a little on a regular basis, the roads are still constructed poorly and get immensely damaged in the rains, and the people refuse to go out in it. However, there's not much we can do to change an ingrained cultural behavior, all we can do try to accommodate our programs to the weather and hope for the rains to recede.

Eroding road and stream made by rains.

Annual average weather graph for Managua.

Last night coming home after having dinner over at a community member's house.
Where you see us standing is normally a road.