By heading to Tipitapa a week before the 2011 Tipitapa Delegation in January, I was lucky enough to really see community work in action with our Health Center Security Fence in Ciudadela San Martin. The entire fence was built in just over a week, all with the labor and support of local volunteers and Rosa, our local community leader and organizer, supervising the project from start to finish. Whether this meant following up on deliveries of supplies or bringing the working team fresh fruit for lunch, Rosa was always present making sure that the fence would be ready in time for the delegates to see, and in time for the planting of our family vegetable patches in the grounds.
With barely a shred of construction knowledge, watching the fence go up was a learning experience. It was also an opportunity to learn some very specific vocabulary (‘malla’ is Spanish for wire mesh fencing). On the day we transported the ‘malla’ from Masaya to Ciudadela, the accelerator pedal in the hired truck gave way. Never an issue in Nicaragua – our driver threaded a rope through the engine, under his feet and into his hand, and just pulled to pick up speed.
Each day saw new progress, with women, men and children helping to create cement mix, chop down weeds blocking the path of the fence and solder the iron tubes in place. The community was supported by CPC (the Citizen’s Power Council) and CAPS, the National Nicaraguan Potable Water Committee on this project, partnerships which can only serve to strength the work we do.
Now our recently renovated Health Center is secure, and the enclosed family gardens are already sprouting radishes and lettuce. Here, parents and children with special needs are working together to grow sustainable and healthy food to support good nutrition, and we also hope to begin workshops in this secure space to teach preventive health. This one, simple project has brought together so much, from community spirit to health and education.