This is our 28th day in Granada, Nicaragua and we’ve already experienced so much! We finished the La Solidaridad roofing project on Monday and moved on to improving the well in Santa Ana and filling in a flooded road, also in La Solidaridad. Last weekend, we went to San Juan del Sur.
There´s nothing like spending the halfway point of our time in Nicaragua on the beach. When we first arrived we ate lunch at a restaurant right on the beach. The sun was out and the water was refreshing, except that some little unidentified creatures in the water were stinging us! We asked Andrés what caused the stinging and he replied, ¨sharks!¨
On top of a cliff overhanging the beach was a giant stone figure of Jesus. The walk to the top was beautiful and we got some nice pictures along the way.
Tuesday was the start of our new project. We worked in Santa Ana, a rural community which is only about 17 km from Granada but takes about 30 minutes to drive to due to the terrible road. When it rains, it can be nearly impossible to get to and from Santa Ana but luckily it didn’t rain much those days. Because the people have so much trouble getting out, they work mostly as day laborers on the nearby peanut and plantain fields.
The town well is their main source of fresh water. Horses and other animals were able to wander as close to the well as they liked and contaminate the ground. Since the well was so close to the ground, rain would wash the contamination (fecal matter) into the water supply. When people in the community drink this water, they often get sick.
We provided the supplies for and helped the community to build a barbed wire fence around the well and then started to raise the level of the pump to prevent further contamination. These simple measures should significantly improve the quality of their water.
The area was extremely muddy and it was hard to find places to step where your feet didn’t get completely submerged in mud. Some of us got more muddy than others, and some of us even fell in… some of us being myself.
The Sams carried the barbed wire coil around the perimeter of the fence while trying to avoid stepping in the mud and getting stabbed by the wire as much as possible. Kyanne, Ashton and I, along with the women of the community, gathered rocks to reinforce the wooden posts. Once everything was in place we hammered on the wire. The fence took us two days to finish and was a good looking fence.
The third and final day we worked on raising the well. We loaded and unloaded cement bricks on a horse drawn cart as they were shuttled from a local house to the work site. Once all the concrete bricks had arrived we worked at filling in the building that housed the pump with dirt. Kyanne, a local, and I shoveled the dirt into buckets, Ashton carried the buckets to Sam H, and Sam H dumped the buckets (Sam W was sick that day). We didn’t finish, but the locals will pour the concrete, use the bricks to raise the roof, and finally raise the pump. We have to move on to our next project but hopefully we´ll get to see the finished product before we leave.
The second project we started this week was fixing the road in La Solidaridad. The road basically has a lake in the middle of it. Fixing it will allow vehicles to get through and, more importantly, fix the health risks associated with such a large body of standing water. The work was similar to raising the floor of the well. Two of us shoveled the big pile of dirt into buckets and the locals placed the dirt where it was most needed, on the east side where the water would drain into the neighboring house during heavy rain. Since there were only two shovels, we would take turns. We didn’t have nearly enough dirt to fill in the whole road, but I hope we´ll be back to finish.