August 2015 Update

Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio

The 5th Annual Rio del Cambio Fundraising Festival was amazing! The weather was again perfect, the food by Chef Chris (Redline Brewhouse) was awesome, and the entertainment left us all smiling and dancing until the sun went down. Rob Tomkinson then Randolph and the Rivieras warmed up the crowd with golden oldies and familiar favourites. My Son the Hurricane, a super funky 14 piece brasshop band, made a grand entrance that never quit. They lit up the night with tunes that had most of the crowd swaying and dancing until the final note. It was a wonderful night of education, entertainment that was enjoyed by all ages! To everyone who attended and supported this event… Thank You! Your support and encouragement is greatly appreciated. We look forward to seeing you again next year on Saturday July 9, 2016.


We owe a very special thank you to Randy Parsons who finds, books and coordinates the musical talent that make the Annual Rio del Cambio Fundraising Festivals so popular and successful.


The evening raised over $18,000 for Rio del Cambio including continued support from a generous corporate sponsor. This enables us to maintain the Learning Program and new Learning Centre (built in 2015), purchase 15 water filters to ensure clean drinkable water in every household in the village of Citalapa, continue to support the Farmers Co-operative and Sewing Program, and begin an English Program. Westling, a resident of Citalapa, completed the 12 stage government-sponsored English program. He now acts as one of our translators when in the village. Rio del Cambio has hired Westling to teach English to 18 students on Saturday mornings. The students range in age from 8-28 years. Learning English is vital to the future of many of the children in Citalapa. This will enable them to apply for tourism, translation, sales and service jobs that are the cornerstone of the Nicaraguan economy.

Citalapa, like the rest of Central America is challenged by a very serious drought. There has been no significant rainfall since last October. The first planting scheduled for May was abandon and the farmers are now waiting with great hope that there will be rain in the next few weeks allowing them to plant in mid to late August. The cost of grain has increased dramatically over the past 4 months and is expected continue to climb. This makes it almost impossible for the villages to feed their families. As a result, Rio del Cambio will be funding monthly food packages to each household for the next 4 months which will cost about $1200/month. We will continue to support our core education programs but no new initiatives will be introduced. Elias, our project manager, is watching the budget carefully and any extra expenses or celebrations will be suspended until the food crisis passes.

The women have integrated the Solar Ovens into their daily lives and are excited to cook me a meal when I visit next. Rio del Cambio funded the sending of 6 women to a workshop at the FUPROSOMUNIC Solar Farm to learn how to use the ovens, dry fruits and herbs, and how to harvest, make and use natural medicinal remedies. They, in turn, are sharing what they learned with the rest of the women in the village. The Moringa trees are suffering from the drought conditions but the farmers are hopful they have established a deep enough root system to recover once the rains begin.

Rio del Cambio is committed to complete transparency. Except for the cost of exchanging money, every dollar raised by Rio del Cambio directly benefits the people of Citalapa through a variety of programs and initiatives. Sadly, currently 30% of donations are lost due to the exchange to US dollars. This is the only expense that is beyond our control.

Thank you to everyone who so graciously and generously supports Rio del Cambio. Together, we truly are making a difference in the village of Citalapa.


Kari Williams
Rio del Cambio

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