May 2016 Newsletter

Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio,

Life in Nicaragua continues to be a daily challenge. Although Project Manager Elias assures me the Education Program is going well, he states “the heat is still unbearable”. Elias was very sick with a virus for almost a month. This virus also spread through the village as well as Denga, an illness from mosquitos. Zika cases have been diagnosed in Nicaragua but as yet, there have been no cases in Citalapa. All of these illnesses are exasperated by the heat and humidity.

The UN News Centre Feb 18/16 reported:

“The 2015-2016 El Niño, one of the strongest on record, has passed its peak, but its humanitarian and economic impacts will continue for many months to come,

In Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador drought conditions have exacerbated already fragile food security. The lack of rain since the middle of 2014 has resulted in the loss of staple grain crops and the death of thousands of cattle. The most vulnerable population are families of subsistence farmers, laborers and landless farmers, who are characterized by low income, with limited access to land, basic health services and education, and difficulties in obtaining the basic food basket. This is the second consecutive year that the population in these areas is facing drought, destroying livelihoods and eroding their resilience. (OCHA, 31 Dec 2015)

There is a 95 per cent chance that El Niño will continue into the initial months of 2016, according to CIIFEN (The Ecuador based International Centre for the Investigation of the Effects of el Nino). Most models suggest that El Niño will intensify even further in the first months of 2016. The outlook for this “postrera” (second planting) season is poor due to the overlap with the “primera” crops (May–August) which were delayed by lack of rainfall and high temperatures. The Famine Early Warning System (FEWS NET) predicts that in May 2016, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and El Salvador will be experiencing crisis level acute food insecurity (IPC3), with acute malnutrition rates. (OCHA, 31 Dec 2015)”

As a result, Rio del Cambio’s immediate mission will be to:
1) continue to fund the Education Program for over 132 Students, and
2) fund the purchase of monthly food baskets for the 96 families of Citalapa, Nicaragua.

These initiatives cost approximately $500/month and $1000/month respectfully.

On a more positive note and as a way to show your support, I invite you to

The 6th Annual Rio del Cambio Backyard Fundraising Festival
will be held on Saturday July 16th, 2016.

This is one week later than normal as the Williams family and the Redline Brewhouse staff will be working in high gear at the Barrie Craft Beer and BBQ Festival from July 8-10th.

This date change also allowed us to again confirm “My Son the Hurricane” as the events headlining entertainment. If you attended last year, you will remember this band as “a 14-piece brasshop beast with the mantra: anything worth doing is worth overdoing. Hailing from Niagara/Toronto, the band mixes New Orleans style grooves with funk, jazz and hiphop”. As music master Randy and I reflected on last year’s event, we easily decided to Just Do It Again Sam. It felt like perfection that deserved to be repeated. Cross your fingers for great weather!

This will be an evening of Education and Entertainment. Tickets are just $50/person including a classic summer BBQ provided by Chef Chris from Redline Brewhouse. Randolph and Rivieras will open the evening with familiar tunes then My Son the Hurricanes will keep you smiling and dancing until the sun goes down. Doors open at 5pm. We invite you to BYOB and lawn chairs. Water and pop provided.

Tickets will be on sale in the next week. To reserve tickets, please email me at and state your desired number of tickets. Attendance will be limited to 130 people. Rio del Cambio supporters will have first opportunity to purchase tickets. We will then advertise the event and sell tickets to Redline patrons.

For those of you that are not aware, the Williams family built and opened Redline Brewhouse, Barrie’s Newest Craft Brewery in July 2015 at 431 Bayview Drive. For more details, feel free to visit our website at

The people of Citalapa are enormously grateful for your support and generosity. Without this support, I fear Citalapa would have a very different landscape today. The villagers are eager to ‘get back to’ their lives as farmers. They are willing to work hard at any jobs but none are available. They are in a quiet state of survival but panic lies just below the surface.

Thank you to all of you for your ongoing support and encouragement for the work that Rio del Cambio does. It is greatly appreciated. Together, we truly are making a difference.


Kari Williams
Rio del Cambio

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