Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Hello from Nicaragua!

Happy belated St. Patty's Day and Happy March Madness to all of you basketball lovers out there. I just wanted to make a quick post to let you all know that we arrived safely in Granada Monday around midnight EST. This week we plan to lay low and assimilate back into the culture before ramping up our projects. We plan to make initial contact with our Cena con las Madres group, in hopes to roll out the project within the next few weeks. We also have a meeting with the folks from the Pittsburgh-based group, Women of the Cloud Rainforest, to discuss a partnership on a few projects that we expect will create many new jobs for Nicaraguans. Additionally, we have started our quest for a permanent location for the International House Project.

Things haven't really changed here too much over the past few months. High tourist season is nearing its final weeks until it ramps back up in the summertime. From what I've gathered, it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone had projected. With the high tourist season comes a huge over-saturation of street kids and beggars. And unfortunately, they all compete each other out. Due to the overwhelming numbers, tourists and well-to-do locals tend to get more callous towards these groups, in turn destroying the market of begging for food and money. In a way this is good since a beggar lifestyle is not economically sustainable; however, it still hurts the heart to see these 7 year old kids begging for food only to be turned down time and time again (and, yes, I am part of this denying population).

However, thanks to the tons of generous donations that we have received from all of you over the past few months, we are able to start changing these individuals lives. We plan to work with the parents of children like Animal (pictured above) to create a sustainable business and generate sufficient income for their families. And by the way...I'm pretty sure that's his nickname, although he hasn't broken down to tell us another name despite our pleas.

Thank you all for the support that you've provided us so far. We look forward to reporting back many stories of successful implementation over the next few months here in Granada.

Until next time!


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