September 2014 Update

Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio

I apologize for the silence over the past month. The drought in Nicaragua has wrecked havoc for Elias, our Project Manager and the people of Citalapa.

First, in a effort to lead, support and calm the villagers, Elias has been staying in the village for extended periods of time. This cut down on travel expense as he knew the Rio del Cambio budget was being stretched with the ongoing purchase of food. Plus, Internet service has been poor at best over the past two months which meant Elias would have to look for and Internet Cafe to write from. These often had long lines ups for a 5 minute usage restriction which was not enough to upload pictures, scan documents and write an email.

Secondly, Elias’s old but functioning laptop died beyond repair. We helped him to purchase a new computer and install Internet in his home. He and his family are very appreciative of the assistance and excited to now have the convenience of Internet service in their own home. Communication with Elias is vital to the success of Rio del Cambio.

To those of you still waiting for Sponsorship pictures, they will be on their way soon. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

As for Citalapa, Elias and the teachers have done a superb job of keeping the children in school learning and motivated during the heat and challenges of the past 4 months. Attendance remains steady, and the parents are taking responsibility for ensuring homework is completed. The Saturday morning English classes have wilted to 8 but these are 8 very dedicated students, mostly young adults, that understand that English lessons are a great gift and may truly be the pathway to their futures. Also, the Sewing Ladies have learned to make skirts and blouses for the younger girls. These were distributed to the most needy families with much excitement. A new group of women will begin to learn to sew in October and the more seasoned ones will act as mentors.

I am excited to report that the rains began in early September and the farmers were very quick to get a crop of corn, beans and wheat in the ground. To date, the weather has been favourable and this growing season is looking positive. The drought did however bring a great deal of illness to the villagers. Elias did his best to have medicine on hand but the affects were widespread to all ages and for an extended period. I am hoping that next week’s email brings better news.

I have encouraged the farmers and the children to begin replanting the Moringa seeds now that the rains have begun. All 400 previously planted seedlings were lost due to the drought conditions. A second food delivery was distributed to the villagers in early September. As a “thank you” to Rio del Cambio, the community came together once again and cleaned the streets. They also rebuilt the steps and repaired the access road to the river.

We are approaching our 5 Year Anniversary of working with the good people of Citalapa. As I reflect on our collective accomplishments, I am most proud of the sense of community and co-operation that the villagers now have. They truly are moving in the direction of being independent and “achieving a greater level of human dignity, health and well-being. There is still much to be done but I am honoured to be a part of this partnership. Thank you to each and everyone of you
that supports the efforts of Rio del Cambio and the people of Citalapa. You truly are making a difference!

Kari Williams
Founder/Director of Rio del Cambio

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