2018 Trip Postponed

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.

2018-09-06T23:50:24+00:00September 1st, 2018|

Bikes arrive, kids and families thank donors

In July, after much back and forth email coordination between Maui and Nicaragua, 12 bikes were bought in Chinandega and delivered to the school at La Carreta where head teacher Luvy coordinated with the receiving students and their parents. Each brought a “letrero,” or big sign, thanking in their own words the donor, and a picture was taken to send to those folks. Each student and a parent signed their contract promising good attendance and good effort to keep up their grades, and each one happily tried out their new bike, which came with 2 extra tires and a tire repair kit.

We provide bikes to each year’s incoming students who have a commute to school that would take 2 hours or more to walk. No school bus is available to these rural kids, and many live a long way from school over rough, pot-holed dirt roads.

This program aims to give students the incentive to remain in school until graduation, thus preparing them for work or further education and contribution to their community, and hopefully keeping them from emigrating.

All bikes are bought in the Department of Chinandega and cost roughly $100 USD. Donors for more bikes are constantly sought and much appreciated! Contact Somos Ohana Nicaragua if you would like to help!

Dan or Maura Flavin
69A Ulunui Place
Pukalani, Hawaii 96768
(808) 572-9898

2018-09-06T20:37:16+00:00July 11th, 2018|

School Garden Planting Time

It’s planting time at the school garden in La Carreta. Students of Instituto August Cesar Sandino bring water from a property near the school to water their young bean and squash plants until the school’s well is dug. Some students are repairing a fence to keep vacas and chanchos (cows and pigs) out of the garden, as well as a wandering caballo (horse).

When these verduras are harvested, some of that harvest will feed the students for their mid-morning recess-time meal, and some may be shared with their families.

2018-05-01T20:02:20+00:00May 1st, 2018|

Students Served Lunch

In March, with no rain yet to allowing planting, many students at La Carreta secondary school, Instituto Augusto Cesar Sandino, were not able to bring lunch to school and the school gardens were not yet producing. The school year of March – November had just started. The Ministry of Education (MINED) helps the elementary schools with basic lunch foods, but at the secondary level, in the past, parents with farms and gardens have donated food. Kids were hungry.

From last year when the new school opened, the Delegada, who is like a district superintendent, and the teachers were looking for a way to entice the families to change from sending their kids to school once a week to every day. If they offered lunches, the parents (especially from the distant villages) would more likely accede to the daily program. They had already started that in 2017, using the “surplus” rice and beans that were left over from the primary schools’ supplies. But it was not consistent.

Although they had some rice and beans, anything more, such as the flavorings or tortillas, were only possible due to the teachers donating a few cordobas here and there. That is why at our March 13 board meeting, Somos Ohana Nicaragua’s directors made an emergency, short-term donation of $175 to allay the food shortage until the rains come and they can plant and harvest vegetables for improved nutrition.

Students enjoy a meal, prepared at school and served in the middle of the morning, in one of the classrooms of the Insituto Augusto C. Sandino in La Carreta. The meal is at 10:30 AM, their normal recess time. Then they return to class for another hour.

Some students stay on campus to do their homework until about 1:30. The heat is intense there, building up in the classrooms by noon, which is why school starts and ends early in the day in Nicaragua.

2018-04-13T03:09:23+00:00April 13th, 2018|

Flatbread Fundraiser Tuesday Jan 23

Somos Ohana Nicaragua, a local non-profit group that builds schools and brings physical therapy services and scholarships to northwestern Nicaragua, will hold a fundraiser at The Flatbread Company in Paia on Tuesday, January 23, to raise money for building the much-needed 3rd wing of the most recent secondary school the group has constructed.

The pizza night fundraiser includes a sale of Nicaraguan crafts and a silent auction with many valuable prizes. A portion of the money from every pizza sold at the restaurant between 5:00 and 9:00 pm will be donated by The Flatbread Co. to Somos Ohana Nicaragua.

Volunteers of the Pukalani-based non-profit are preparing for their 19th consecutive summer of working with the people of small villages in the municipality of Villanueva, Department of Chinandega. The group’s president Charlotte Flavin stated, “The well to supply water for the school is ready to be drilled. Now we can begin work this year on the third wing for Instituto Augusto Cesar Sandino, which will include a kitchen so that students can clean and prepare the vegetables for sale that will be grown in the school gardens.” One hundred thirty-three students from remote and underserved rural communities completed their first full year of classes at the school and are on break, with the second academic year in the school’s history to begin in February.

Somos Ohana Nicaragua has worked alongside communities in the past to build another high school, an elementary school and two pre-schools, to renovate elementary schools and to complete two water systems. They also hold an annual 2-week summer camp for children and young adults with special needs. The group has provided over 120 bicycles for teens that previously walked 1 to 2 hours to their high school. They assist with partial scholarships for 6 university students who are majoring in health and education fields, and they provide a travel fund for cancer patients to get to a city center for medical treatments.

Volunteers with skills to share and the desire to help are always welcome to work with the organization. Spanish language ability, while desirable, is not necessary. A free weekly Spanish class is offered in Pukalani for people planning to go with the group. Volunteers pay their own way to the Central American country and pay a modest daily fee to the families they board with.

Somos Ohana Nicaragua (www.somosohananicaragua.org) can be contacted at 572-9898 or 878-8015. Please friend us on Facebook at Somosohana Nicaragua.

2018-01-16T20:05:32+00:00January 16th, 2018|

Fundraiser Tuesday Jan 23

Enjoy delicious wood-fired pizza, a sale of Nicaraguan crafts, and a silent auction with many valuable prizes at The Flatbread Company in Paia on Tuesday, January 23, 2018, and help SOMOS OHANA NICARAGUA raise the money for the 3rd wing of the secondary school Instituto August Cesar Sandino in La Carreta that they recently built in Nicaragua. Partial proceeds of every pizza sold from 5 to 9 pm will be donated by The Flatbread Company to help Somos Ohana Nicaragua. Many thanks to The Flatbread Company and to our supporters in the Maui community!

2018-01-10T03:01:16+00:00January 10th, 2018|

Students Ready for Vacation

On November 30th Somos Ohana received news from Luvy Uriarte, head teacher of the Instituto Augusto C. Sandino in La Carreta, informing us that it was the last day of instruction for the students of secondary education there. Though the teachers and administrators still had a lots of work to do before their official vacation around Christmas and the New Year, the students are on a long vacation similar to the US’s summer vacation (or the old Hawaii “coffee schedule”) until the first day of instruction of the new school year during the first week of February, 2018. This vacation coincides with the important harvesting of coffee at this time of the year and the driest season, which is call “verano” or summer, in Nicaragua.

In January, the teachers are expected to visit every family to take a census and to encourage the participation of school age children to take advantage of their right to free public education in Nicaragua.

2018-01-05T03:51:31+00:00January 5th, 2018|

Water on its way!

The promised drill rig to dig the much-needed well for Instituto Augusto Cesar Sandino is on its way to the port in Nicaragua! The non-profit Amigos for Christ that works in northern Nicaragua is providing the use of this drill, being shipped this month from Philadelphia and slated to arrive around Christmas. It’s a powerful machine adequate to the job of drilling for water through the blue rock at the new secondary school in La Carreta.

Somos Ohana Nicaragua will provide infrastructure, such as a pump and piping, for this well. We have worked and hoped for this access to water since the beginning of building this school. The students can look forward to adequate water for sanitation, hydration and the irrigation of their garden crops, and Somos Ohana Nicaragua can look forward to starting the construction of the third wing, which will include a kitchen.

Ultimately, the school plans to offer agricultural and animal husbandry skills in addition to the regular academic curriculum and computer classes which are ongoing now.

2017-12-02T21:33:34+00:00December 2nd, 2017|

Pipian Squashes from the School Garden

Agriculture is planned as the focus of the new secondary school, Instituto Augusto Cesar Sandino, in La Carreta. Therefore, we are very happy to receive word that the pipians (squash) planted in the summer have matured and been harvested by the students. The garden will potentially help feed lunch to the school’s kids as well as giving them experience growing food. Having 20 cordobas (roughly a 65 cents) to buy lunch at school is out of the question for many students and is one of the reasons some come only to Saturday school rather than attending Monday through Friday.

2017-11-14T04:30:57+00:00November 14th, 2017|

Cooking School Garden Vegetables

La Carreta students and Language Arts teacher Luvy Rueda lainez recently cooked up the school garden’s pipians for lunch, with rice.

The Gov’t gives the primary schools some rice and beans, and sometimes flour, sugar, and cooking oil. (Usually none of that goes to the secondary schools.) The mothers at the primary schools take turns cooking for the children’s lunches in a program to encourage school attendance.

In La Carreta, to encourage more students to attend daily classes, the Directora (Principal), with the permission of the Delegada, (head of the local Ministry of Education), procured some of the rice and beans from the primary school supply to feed the secondary students. Sometimes, they ran out of rice and beans, and received nothing. This is a special plan for La Carreta’s Instituto A. C. Sandino only. If it is successful, it may extend to other secondary schools.

When La Carreta’s Instituto has a real kitchen, which we are planning to provide in the 3rd wing, and more gardens, they can broaden their scope of how the kitchen will work. Besides a place to prepare lunches, it will also be a way of teaching the students how to prepare vegetables in a clean environment, with various seasonings, too.

2017-11-14T04:27:12+00:00November 14th, 2017|

This Is A Custom Widget

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This Is A Custom Widget

This Sliding Bar can be switched on or off in theme options, and can take any widget you throw at it or even fill it with your custom HTML Code. Its perfect for grabbing the attention of your viewers. Choose between 1, 2, 3 or 4 columns, set the background color, widget divider color, activate transparency, a top border or fully disable it on desktop and mobile.