The January 2013 delegation trip to the Tipitapa area of Nicaragua was well-organized with excellent representation from the communities in and around Tipitapa and New York. We were well-informed about the people, projects, communities, and areas we were visiting, and events always had solid, meaty participation from Nicaraguan and North American representatives. Our leader, Executive Director Lupe Ramsey, was calm and in control and Program Development Manager Helen Shannon was a great go-to person for everyone. And I was struck by the sincerity, integrity and realness in all the participants and participant communities.
Highlights for me were:
- A very productive community meeting with heart-felt, truly informative presentations by ca. 11 new water committees on a lovely Sunday in Chiamaltillo.
- The warmth of so many of the people of Nicaragua with whom we worked!
- Seeing first-hand the productive potable water wells whose development, protection, and maintenance was facilitated by Dos Pueblos.
- Interacting with youth who dug up doodle bugs (ant lions for me) and taught me their local Spanish name, chanchito.
- Experiencing beautiful Nature out in the countryside.
- Witnessing the expression of support for Dos Pueblos by Tipitapa Mayor César Vásquez, Hospital Administration, MINSA representatives and numerous other dignitaries.
- Building the adaptive-designed structures together as a community; facilitating the insect ecology activity.
- Director Lupe’s ribbing me about talking too much.
- La comida muy deliciosa prepared by Luis Alberto Areas at Entre Rios.
- Sharing good food with new friends and having great discussions before and after meals!
- Talking about cattle and animal husbandry with Dolkar.
- Learning about local fruit plants from Andres and Elmer.
- Listening to the life stories of David, Steve, Dr. Amy, Sarah, Helen and Director Lupe.
- The wonderful staff of Hoteles Entre Rios y Con Corazon.
- Visiting with artists.
- Luis’s maintenance man’s professional preparation of handles for my insect sweep nets.
- Having Adriana, one of the Arco Iris team members compliment me on the insect ecology presentation, and bid me despedida.
- Hearing Rosa Lilliam requesting that “el Tejano” return someday.
Dos Pueblos and collaborating entities are functioning well at the community level with excellent community organizers to (1) provide stop-gap and long-term solutions to:
- water quality problems,
- basic health care (including maintenance of a health center and development of a birthing center) and low-cost physical therapy aids (from scrap cardboard),
- solid supplemental/continuing education for youth (including the maintenance of a library) and adults,
- community gardens and good nutrition, and
- low-cost transportation/bicycle needs (in collaboration with Wisconsin Partners),
as well as to (2) facilitate the microfinancing of sewing enterprises and other women’s businesses. Our delegation’s week-long involvement in the efforts of Dos Pueblos indicates that this wonderful Nicaraguan-New York collaboration should continue in its notable work facilitating access to potable water for the “colonias” around Tipitapa and working with these communities, leaders, and local government toward enhancing the physical, economic, spiritual, and ecological wellness of their citizens.
I like what Dos Pueblos is accomplishing, the way it is doing it, and I love the people who involved in its efforts. Therefore, my family and I will continue to support Dos Pueblos and be involved in its activities in Nicaragua--and in New York and in other parts of the world--in any way we are able.