Sunday – our last day here and it was our day of rest – we went down to the beach in the AM and we had the option to either kayak or go in a small boat. Dan and I kayaked down and then hopped in the boat coming back. Dan had her first surf lesson and smashed it! So stoked for her as she conquered yet another big fear of the waves / water. I did another long yoga session and Christian got in another surf sesh. Catherine and Joe caught up on some work. This afternoon Dan is having a massage – I am doing another yoga session of ashtanga series as I lay in shavassana with bats and moths flying, bugs crawling over me and biting me – all I hear are the melodic sounds of nature surrounding me and am humbled and inspired. Nature always stamps the perspective for me. You all know I believe nothing in life happens by chance – that every person put on our path is one of purpose and destiny. It’s not surprising we 5 have intersected. We started this Nicaragua journey as friends we depart as family. We really bonded and share a rare connection that precedes our desires to be useful and help. So much gratitude fills my heart to know these souls with their shining luminescent spirits to have unspoken and shared language where no words are needed and another just gets you and your desire to be a useful spirit on this particular journey. All of us commented along the way about the wonderful ease and comfort we all felt together. What a gift of a week – non stop working on either implementing or checking out next step communities. Despite cold showers, bug attacks, massive heat, humidity, squished car rides, eating whatever – we shared so many laughs along the way……blessed and beyond….as I sit here reflecting of this trip – I am filled with gratitude to work with a team of people that pulled together to raise funds in hopes of creating change. You all played a role in igniting this. Whether you are living in LA, NY, Hawaii, a bario in Nicaragua we all desire the same thing, to see and be seen, to hear and be heard, to feel and be felt, to learn and to teach, to be useful and to love and be loved. It is all very simple. - Kay Sides
Simplicity. It is a new year and thousands of resolutions are being made---but Waves For Water only has ONE. It’s simple: to get clean water to every single person who needs it.
Nicaragua needs clean water. The poorest country in the region, the average income is set at $1 a day for 40% of the population. What’s more? Lack of access to safe water costs Nicaragua an estimated 1,912 million cordobas or US $95 million yearly. That is 1.5% of their GDP.
Tired of the economics lesson? Lack of clean water is also a human rights issue and a women’s issue. Women feel the burden most of unclean water. For them, it is a dignity matter that forces them into a cycle of poverty. Access to clean water, frees them from this cycle. It allows for new opportunities in women’s education and employment and gives them greater autonomy and independence. And, as Development discussions suggest, women and girls are the most effective way to fight global poverty.
So, how do you make a BIG impact with a simple plan? Waves For Water has partnered with established non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and local community leaders to access rural and remote areas of Nicaragua. In a 6-8 month, countrywide pilot program, W4W team members will distribute filter packages to a majority, if not all families, in critically identified regions. These packages include a Waves For Water filter, plastic container/bucket and culturally respectful safe water education. Water will literally cost pennies and be available to thousands.
Waves For Water is already successfully providing clean water internationally in countries such as Haiti, Liberia, Pakistan, India, and the Philippines—post Haiyan; and domestically, aiding along the New York and New Jersey coastline in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
What do you want to do?
We want to get clean water to every single person who needs it. Our purpose includes the establishment of water delivery systems to rural communities, clinics and small schools in conjunction with education of children and adults on safe water and nutrition practices.
What impact do you want to make?
We want to fulfill our human and social responsibility by providing clean water to a country that is in critical need. Our program is 100% sustainable and in accordance with sustainable development criteria. Ask yourself, if it’s not you making an impact, than whom?
Photo Credit: Mark Choiniere
Aug 19 - 2014Field Update // 5
Aug 17 - 2014Field Update // 4
The next day we started with an early 7 am yoga session and then went down to Popyo beach – it’s a beautiful surf spot. We then went into the community. The wells here have been broken for 2 years and the government has continued to promise they will fix them, but still have not. The entire community of 8 villages has been operating off of 1 well. This well does not provide clean water and people come from miles away to get it. We first had a big community gathering with the “father” of the community expressed his gratitude to us and shared more about the renal diseases that plague the communities. We then gathered around the well and Christian did yet another thorough implementation. This is the most integral portion as without clear understanding of how to use and clean the filters it will not provide the support and change that is has the potential to. This community was so grateful and we also discussed helping to rebuild their wells. Gabby is working with them to provide an estimate of costs.
Aug 16 - 2014Field Update // 3
The next morning early – we did a hike around the crater before leaving. It was just beautiful. We wanted to do the 8 hour hike to the puma peak, but there was no time on this trip so we will be back. In addition to the frogs, sloths, monkeys, birds and other varieties of insects pumas, jaguars and ocelots also inhabit this wondrous environment. We hope to see them on our next trek. We then packed up and left to try and meet Dr.Javier Ruiz. We were able to locate him which is a little tricky as there are no street signs or numbers anywhere. Dr. Ruiz is a naturalist and plant medicine doctor – he owns farms and grows his own herbs. People come from miles away to see him and the majority of illnesses are all renal related diseases – all due to the contaminated water. His clinic is in Nandamine and he also works with the El Moncho clinic and casa maternidad – a women’s infant and maternity clinic. This was a very important relationship to make as now we will have access to truthful data regarding renal diseases and the effects of water on the communities. Also with the naturalist aspect integrated into his medical practice we also know this relationship will be an aligned one with our shared commonalities of health and service. We met with him for a few hours and learnt more about the communities and health issues that plague them. We did an implementation for him to take to the local primary school that he works with. There has been a serious drought here which has compromised the water issues even further. Normally it rains from April to July and so far, it has not rained at all. It hasn’t been this dry since the 70′s and it makes our implementations even more meaningful. We left Dr. Ruiz and headed to, Equilibrio. We arrived here an hour and a half later and met the beautiful Gabby. She’s from Argentina, lived in New York and now she and her husband started spending more time in Nicaragua. They settled in the community of Las Salinas, Hualahapa. It is comprised of 8 communities – the largest one has 2000 people and the others around 1000. They started building Equilibrio little by little – it took 10 years to build this beautiful sustainable permaculture environment. Their focus is on eco tourism and not in a commercialized and orchestrated manner, but very authentic and truthful. Gabby is a yoga teacher – her husband a surfer and businessman. We arrived in time for dinner – it was so lovely to end our time here – each room is a private palapa with screens as bugs are everywhere. There are separate outdoor hammock areas and a beautiful outside shower, which I am so stoked about. Dan is doing a great job conquering her fear of bugs, as there’s a lot to contend with – between the mosquitos and scorpions and other bugs we are not familiar with. Dinner was delicious and Gabby is focused on learning all of her guests needs.
Aug 15 - 2014Field Update // 2
Early the next morning we drilled additional buckets and visited Las Prusias – a bario school that Edna and Mauricio work closely with and support. We brought the children a pinata and snacks and it created total pandemonium – it was so much fun! Providing clean water here is very meaningful – it’s one of the things Catherine focused on in choosing the communities – that each community had to have a school – as the goal is to really create sustainable new paradigms and education is a necessity in that. It’s tough for me to see that all schools only allow the older kids (in high school) to only attend school on the weekends so that their work schedule is not interrupted. Later that afternoon – we visited and performed another implementation at Iletas – these are small islands that families inhabit. There are 74 Isletas and half of them are inhabited. There is absolutely no clean water on these islands , so we installed one filter and checked out an island to understand their water situation. We’re excited about being able to bring filters to all these islands. If we were not doing implementations, we were scouting, doing due diligence, connecting with locals to understand the needs better, and creating successive next steps for implementations. After the Isletas – we made a 2 hour drive up to Mombacho volcano national rainforest reserve. Because of our teammate Edna Medina here, we were able to spend the night in the rangers station – nobody is allowed as it’s just their own bunk quarters. We stopped at the market to pick up sandwiches and fruit for breakfast and headed up. Prior to driving here Mauricio took us to a local artist’s home where we got some amazing pieces. We drove up the steep mountain and got there at about 9:30 pm and quickly geared up to do a night hike with our ranger. Here we found the beautiful little frogs with red eyes and feet. Salamanders that were luminescent also graced us with their appearance.
Aug 14 - 2014Field Update // 1
We spent time up in the hills of Granada at Bario Waswali and Communidad Santa Amelia. Bario Waswali is an amazing example of a community that wants to sustain themselves. The people of the city are empowered despite tremendous poverty levels. With our local relationships we were introduced to a pastor who works with this community, he introduced us to a man in this community that happened to have a well on his property that provides 25 families with bathing water – it wasn’t suitable for drinking or cooking. We did an impromptu implementation and just like that we changed the lives of 25 families. We then went on to Communidad Santa Amelia where we met and worked with 20 families. Once again, Christian and Catherine carefully went through another implementation. It was amazing. From here we made a 2 hour drive to Granada. There are 14 departments in Nicaragua and some of the cities are also named after the departments like Granada and Matalgalpa. The colors of Granada were just beautiful and the Italian influence is very prevalent in the architecture. We were so excited to get a hot shower (not hot but not freezing cold) where I actually washed my hair for the first time in a week ! yahoooo! We also spent time meeting with Mauricio, a prominent attorney in Granada that was another connection Catherine had fostered. What is clear is that without the right relationships like anything, all of the amazing work we are all doing means nothing. We also met with 2 other attorneys as Catherine has been working nonstop on getting our filters released from customs. Mauricio used to be in civil service and his family owns the largest coffee farms in Nicaragua as well as hotels and other farms. We were fortunate to stay at one of his hotels which used to be a family residence that he converted. There is so much work to be done here and like Matagalpa the barios are so close to the main cities and towns.
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