November 2013 Update
Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio
The past month at Citalapa has been filled with promise and hope. The farmers will begin to clear their fields in December. The terrible flooding and storms that have plagued the world were also felt in Nicaragua but, thankfully, the results were not too damaging. The yield from the crops continues to look like it will be quite favourable. This will give many of the farmers some personal cash-flow for the first time in several years.
However, the villagers were without adequate food so in early November, we delivered 5 pounds of rice, 5 pounds of beans, 2 pounds of sugar, 1 liter of cooking oil and 1 pound of pasta to 100 households, or about $1000. The villagers had no knowledge of the delivery and were very excited and appreciative of this help. They celebrated the gift by working together to clean all of the streets, and repair 2 roads that had been wasted out by the rain and high water from the river.
The children will finish their school year at the end of November but the Rio del Cambio Education Program will continue to offer classes during the month of December. This is a result of requests by the parents and students. They will take the month of January off as their “summer holidays” then return to school in early February. I will be traveling to Nicaragua in late January during which we will once again be taking the children and their families to the beach for a day. This is their day of celebration for a job well done at school! I will also be taking new pictures of all of the children and forwarding them to their Sponsors once I return. There are still 11 children in need of sponsors plus those that will be entering grade one. The annual gift to sponsor a child is just $75. Click here to pay for your sponsorship for the 2014 school year. E-transfers to firstname.lastname@example.org or cheque are also welcome.
I am very pleased to announce that Rio del Cambio has purchased a plot of land centrally located in the village. This land will be used to build a permanent block structure that will be used as a classroom/computer lab/library as well as a medical/community centre when necessary. The location of the land makes the possibility of purchasing more land in the future, as funds permit, an exciting reality. We will also design the new building so that it can be easily added on to. Except for the cost of a construction manager, the structure will be built by volunteer labor from the villagers. We hope to begin construction in the new year. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks!
We also started a Sewing Co-operative with 18 women in the village at a cost of $650 for 6 machines and basic tools such as scissors and measuring tapes. Like the Farmer’s Co-op, Rio del Cambio will provide the initial start up investment and the women will “pay back” to the program once they begin to earn an income. This micro loan concept encourages the women to learn a new skill, begin to earn an income to help support their families, and teaches them fiscal responsibility. When I first saw the pictures of the sewing machines that Elias, Rio del Cambio Project Manager, purchased I was a little taken back. However, upon reflection, I understand the wisdom of his choice. As you can see from the picture below, the sewing machines require no hydro and have very few moving parts. This means the operating costs will remain low but the durability of the machines, high. Once the women have mastered these machines, and hopefully obtain some regular work or a contract, we will consider the viability of more modern machines. The women are currently taking classes 3 times a week for 2 hours to learn the skill of pattern making, cutting, sewing, finishing and trim work.
As you can see, it has been a busy month! For this, we are very excited but remain cautiously optimistic that the village of Citalapa is finally beginning to see and feel the fruits of their labor and determination is some very tangible ways. It is your support and donations that make all of this possible. On behalf of the people of Citalapa and Rio del Cambio, we thank you for you interest and continued generosity.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the work of Rio del Cambio or visit www.riodelcambio.org
Thank you to all,