November 2016 Newsletter
Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio
Esther and I had the pleasure and privilege to spending a week in October with the people of Citalapa. This trip was about connecting with the villagers after, yet again, a very challenging spring and summer. The weather was incredibly hot and humid. We had to monitor our activity and each other very carefully. Even with a constant intake of water, dehydration was only a moment away. Our days were filled with meetings with the Farmers, parents, teachers as well as time spent with the children. We were able to take new photos of most of the children for the Sponsorship Program that I will be sending out in the the next few weeks. The Sponsorship Program is the best way to help support Rio del Cambio and the people of Citalapa. For $100 a year – or just over $8/month, you can keep a child in school for a full year. This helps pay for 3 teachers salaries, textbooks, notebooks, pencils, pens as well as table and chairs for the Rio del Cambio school that was built in 2014.
June through October are normally wet months. However, like the past 2 years, these month were very dry with only sporadic rain. This prevented the planting of a crop in June. There was a solid week of rain in early September which softened the ground enough to allow for a planting of wheat, corn and beans. But by the time that we arrived in October, the rains had again stopped and the wheat was lost. Everyday we hoped, prayed and looked for rain. Many afternoons about 3pm we were sure the skies were about to open but then, suddenly the clouds blew by and the sun claimed the day. On the last day of our visit – a Thursday, I asked Elias when all would be lost without rain. Sunday, he said. As you can see in the pictures, the crops were half their expected size and were beginning to droop in the heat. Miraculously, I received an email from Elias on Sunday to say the rains began on Friday and continued to fall. HIs most recent email indicated the farmers harvested 80% of the anticipated corn and 50% of the anticipated beans. This is cause for great celebration!
The Rio del Cambio Education Programs continues to be a life line for most of the children in the village. The parents are very appreciative of the program that helps keep the children learning, happy and focused. Attendance is down over last year since 7 families have moved out of Citalapa in hopes of finding work in Managua and the cooler mountain regions. There are currently 71 children in the elementary program and 24 in high school. Admittedly, Esther and I struggled to hear that 5 high school students had left the Education Program – 3 girls (age 15) that are now mothers and 2 boys now work to support their grandparents who raised them.
We did however, get to witness Marcella who Rio del Cambio has been sponsoring for 5 years, receive her final documents to become a lawyer! On the Friday following our departure, she was to be in court to be sworn in. She is currently interviewing for an internship. We are enormously proud of Marcella. She is a wonderful role model for the children of Citalapa.
Wesling continues to teach English on Saturday mornings to 12 students. Wesling has also secured a job at a local resort working at the reception desk due to his excellent English.
Thank you for your ongoing interest and support of Rio del Cambio (River of Change). It is through your generosity that the village of Citalapa continues to experience a greater level of human dignity health and well-being. Click here to donate, or etransfer to firstname.lastname@example.org or send a cheque to 3714 20th Sideroad, Innisfil, Ontario L9S 2Y1 made out to Rio del Cambio.
Rio del Cambio