May 2014 Update
Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio
There is so much to say but I am mindful of length… Our trip to Citalapa in April was exciting, productive, informative, educational, tiring and very HOT! We arrived to find the new Education Centre almost complete. With only 8 days to accomplish a lot, we rolled up our sleeves and joined the villagers of all ages to put the finishing touches on the building before the seasonal rains began. We had 4 long days of painting inside and out. Doors were hung, windows cleaned, stairs completed, and retaining walls installed. Adding some colour seemed to make the project come to life and was cause for celebration. We gathered for a dedication service on our final day. It was humbling to see what the village had accomplished in just 8 weeks with no power tools or modern equipment in the relentless heat. But their sense of ownership and excitement was so obvious, I was giddy with pride. I have hundreds of pictures that truly tell the story (many of which are posted on www.Facebook.com/riodelcambio) but here I can only show the end product – an idea that became a dream that was transformed into a reality thanks to the incredible generosity of a few. Words cannot accurately express our gratitude for their willingness to embrace our vision with such trust.
The children of the Rio del Cambio Education Program are now being educated in a safe, dry space. Future plans include new tables and chairs, book shelves and a library of reading and resource books. The building will also act as a medical centre, and space for English, sewing and adult education classes.
On that note, Bernie is a Queen’s University graduate that travelled to Nicaragua with me in January 2013. When there, he met a young man in the village by the name of Westling. Bernie recognized Westling’s talent and decided to pay for English classes for him. In less than 18 months, Westling has completed 7 of 12 levels of the government’s English program. He has set a goal to completed 10 levels by Christmas 2014. I asked Westling to translate for me for two days during our trip in April. I was so impressed by his English, his quiet confidence and his willingness to try even though he had never translated before, I invited him to be one of my translators in the future. Also, Westling is now teaching English Saturday mornings in Citalapa to 12 students!
The farmers attended a workshop led by Armando, a local grower of Moringa. Moringa is a native Nicaragua plant that has wonderful health and healing benefits. It will provide the villagers with an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, is high in protein, can be brewed into a tea to treat kidney, liver and heart conditions. It can also be used to treat skin conditions and digestive disorders. The farmers bagged 400 Moringa seeds that are now ready to be planted. They will grow 6 feet in the first 6 months and the villagers will begin to reap the benefits before Christmas.
Martha came out to the village to teach some of the women to bead. They were excited to be learning something new and to take home a finished product. Like the Sewing Program, the women that are learning to make bead necklaces are hoping to find places where they can sell their goods and earn an income for their families.
We finished taking pictures of the 120 children in the Sponsorship Program. Emails have now been sent out to Sponsors with a current picture and information about each child. If you did not receive an email as expected, please let me know. It was a challenge keeping the pictures accurately co-ordinated with names, ages, grades etc. A Sponsorship is just $75 for a whole year of education for one child. This helps to pay for teacher’s salaries, tables and chairs, notebooks, textbooks and supplies. Visit the Sponsorship page here or e-transfer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are currently 28 students in need of Sponsors. Please email me at email@example.com if you would like more information about sponsoring a child.
Save the Date! The 4th Annual Rio del Cambio Backyard Fundraiser will be held on Saturday July 5th from 5pm -10pm. The Main Street Jug Band will open the evening followed by Canadian singing sensation Corin Raymond. (www.corinraymond.com) “Corin Raymond is a storyteller who by the end of the night you’ll have known all your life” – Brad Wheeler, The Globe and Mail Tickets are $50/person including a BBQ dinner.
To purchase tickets, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. More details in June newsletter.