September 2015 Update
Dear Friends of Rio del Cambio
The past month brings little change to the conditions in Citalapa. The village, which should have experienced 4 months of rainy season, continue to wait for any measure of rain that is beneficial. The farmers have some seed and fertilizer stock piles but the ground is like concrete due to the 30-35 degree temperatures and drought conditions since last October. With every email, Project Manager Elias tries to remain positive but the situation in now becoming very challenging. Rio del Cambio funded a food delivery to each household in August ($1500 US) and will do another in September through December. This will require some adjustments to the budget but we will not alter the Education Program in any way. Currently, we have 97 children in the Elementary Learning Program and 33 in High School. When we began the program in 2010, only 2 students attended high school and 26 were enrolled in the Grade 1-6 program. Also, the overall academic success of the children has improved significantly. Citalapa was once the worst school in the district. It is now one of the best in the area!
After 4 years, new water filters were delivered to 14 households that needed replacements. This ensures that every household in the village of Citalapa has a filter in their home that provides clean, drinkable water. The villagers get their water from either the river or one well. The well is 100 feet deep and drawn using a rope and small wooden bucket. The river is used to wash clothes, bath and hydrate the animals. As a result, this water carries bacteria that cause a great deal of illness. Once the water is filtered, however, it is safe to drink.
The new school funded by Rio del Cambio and built by the villagers in 2014 is proving to be a very welcome addition to the community. When not in school, the children congregate there to escape the sun. Although the new school is only a year old, it required new exterior paint and roof paint due to the harshness of the sun.
The villagers also came together to collect rocks to shore up the only access to the river. Hopefully, once the rains begin, this will help to prevent excessive erosion. For the villagers, this a way to show their appreciation for the support Rio del Cambio gives them. Over the past 5 years, the community has learned a much greater sense of ownership and independence. They are very proud of the new additions to their community including the new School, the Farm Co-operative, Ladies Sewing Group, Solar Ovens and English Classes.
I am very pleased with the progress of Rio del Cambio and the efforts of the villagers of Citalapa. Together, we have given an impoverished community the opportunity to feel proud and empowered. They continue to live in acute poverty, most earning less than $1/day but are now teaching their children there is hope for a different future. Thank you to each and every one of you that has supported Rio del Cambio. Your ongoing support is greatly appreciated and is making a significant difference to the community of Citalapa.
I will be travelling to Nicaragua in late October for one week. This will be a time to visit with the people, evaluate each of the programs, and budget for 2016.
Director and Founder
Rio del Cambio
(River of Change)