Since 1999, we have been living/serving our ohana in Nicaragua during July and into August. But not this year.
Nicaragua has been suffering political/civil unrest since the middle of April partly brought to a head because of the President Ortega’s decision to tax those who receive Social Security benefits, something unheard of in Nicaragua prior to this. Mostly peaceful demonstrations resulted in almost immediate rescinding of the Act. However, that encouraged the political parties who were upset by the President’s power to allow himself to be elected for a 3rd (5 year) term. They saw a new dictatorship forming; then the demonstrations started to become violent. By the beginning of June, there were barricades all over the highways in/out of major cities in the country, daily killings in the streets; continued chaos! Because of this, we decided that it was too dangerous to return to Nicaragua at this time.
We are in weekly contact with our ohana in Villanueva, and in Chinandega. It has been an oasis in the midst of all the chaos around them. The children in primary and secondary schools have continued their regular schedules. However, all the public universities had been closed because of violence and destruction in some of them, especially in Managua and Leon.
Meanwhile, here are some major advancements in Villanueva that we have been able to coordinate from here in Hawaii since the beginning of June:
1) Early July, Amigos for Christ’s water team (a large non-profit from GA) with whom we partnered to set up the potable water system at the school in La Carreta, finally reached water at 170 feet, after drilling (and hammering) through mostly blue rock. The electric pump arrived, and they will complete the installation and connections to the school.
2) After much coordination between the head teacher, families, and the owner of the bike shop in Chinandega, on July 11th, 12 bikes were delivered to the youngsters who must travel the longest distances to get to classes in the Instituto Augusto C. Sandino.
3) When the water system is complete, the contractor, who was responsible for the construction of the first two wings of the Instituto, assures us he will be ready to sign a contract with us.
Some on our team plan to go to Villanueva at the end of October this year, as the unrest seems to be largely over, and we hear from our ohana in Villanueva that transportation between there and the capital is again normalized.
We are deeply grateful for your faithful interest, kindness, and support of the rural families in Nicaragua. Please pray for peaceful solutions to the lingering distrust, and hate among the various factions. May the people be willing to forgive those who have caused their suffering.