Let's start out in January 2015; after years of searching and planning our efforts to establish a teaching farm on the island of Ometepe paid off, the project breaks ground! A very small group of us build the structure to house the piping and the pumps for the well on the farmland and Grow Nicaragua was able to employ a local farmer to work the crops for us. As long as the water table stays consistent we will be able to use this field year-round. We began very meagerly with some squash and by the time the rainy season had come around we were in full swing with the number of organic and non-organic sustainable crops. For our annual July trip we had quite a large group of people from all over the United States. People from Cleveland, Boston and Louisville join us in helping to build a home for a single mother and her three children as well as further some ongoing projects at the CICRIN orphanage. We also did a little work on the farm, planting fruit and avocado trees. I was also able to preside over the graduation of our first 15 students from our two-year agricultural program that we proved in conjunction with Pontis and Nicaragua Mission! The classes continue to grow as word spreads around the island and people see the results of taking this free agricultural course.
I have made a commitment to be down in the country quarterly to oversee the implementation of projects and classes for the foreseeable future. So last October I was able to be in Nicaragua networking and hoping to set up the first of our entrepreneurial seminars. I was also able to do a little work in our office building on the island of Ometepe. I was only home for a week when things changed forever.
On the morning of October 15 sometime around 3 AM a fire was started in the carport of a home that sits only about 10 feet away from the church where our USA offices are located. The fire spread to the church and we lost everything in our offices. What wasn't destroyed by the fire was destroyed by water. The rest of 2015 was work in the recovery process. After getting over the initial shock, time is filled with making lists, replaceing equipment and negotiating with lawyers and adjusters. It's not a fun process and it will continue for quite some time, it's hard not to let it consume everything but there is much to be done!
Even though there was a fire, even though there was loss, there's a sense of renewed hope. We now possess a hardened resolve on to see the mission even more successful and bigger than we initially imagined! Our work, it's only just begun! At this point there is very little that is going to derail our train. There's a lot ahead of us this year, starting with our 2016 fundraising campaign. Please keep an eye out for our posts and help us spread the word about all the awesome things were doing in Nicaragua!