Hola from Mozonte or should I say Adios! Mozonte is a small rural town in Northern Nicaragua situated beneath an array of magnificent mountains. The town itself boasts houses of all colours of the rainbow. Mozonte has a population of 5000 people with 82% of the population having an indigenous heritage. We arrived in Mozonte and found the residents to be warm and welcoming, stopping to acknowledge our presence with a simple Adios. At first we found this a confusing concept, did the people of Mozonte want rid of us? However we soon came to realise that the phrase is used in an affectionate way and it is how people greet one another in passing.
The local youth of Mozonte are keen dancers, with two youth dance groups in the town. One of which invited us to watch several of their fantastic traditional dance routines, before being invited onto the stage ourselves. This was a great way to meet local people and for us as a group to feel settled in our new environment. Our first week in Mozonte has been great; we have met many different people, from the local indigenous leader to the town mayor. Listening to local people speak about the issues they are facing is extremely interesting and a number of social and environmental problems became apparent. One of which is access to clean water.
One project we have started is the cleaning of water ways in a Municipality seat called Dipilto. It is currently the dry season in Nicaragua, with little to no rainfall. This has caused water levels in rivers to become very low. Branches, leaves and rocks are disrupting the flow of water in the Rio Coco of Dipilto. This means the population of Dipilto are facing disruption to their water access. Our aim is to help remove debris from the river bed so that normal water flow can be restored and allow better access of water to the residents of Dipilto. On our first day of this project many local women and children turned up to support and assist our effort to clear debris from the river. It was inspiring to see how much the local population cared about their environment and how we can work with local people to create an effective outcome on the project.
Learning about Nicaraguan history, culture and politics has helped give us as a group an understanding of why Nicaragua is like it is today. Understanding issues in Nicaragua is key to the success of our projects and will help us work more effectively within the community.
Recycling and waste disposal is also a major issue in Nicaragua, with many people burning waste and therefore releasing gases into the atmosphere which are potentially harmful. Waste disposal services are expensive in Nicaragua, which is a major contributor as to why people burn their rubbish. We aim to work with a local primary school to promote the practice of recycling, as well as educating the children about recyclable materials and the benefits of recycling to the environment. The mayor of Mozonte is launching a campaign for a cleaner, healthier environment with the slogan ‘vivir limpio, vivir sano, vivir bonito’. Working with the mayor and the children of Mozonte will be a great way to implement recycling initiatives and the practicing of recycling within the local community
Vivir limpio, vivir sano, vivir bonito!
(Live clean, live healthy, live beautiful!)
Blog by Laura Savage
Photo of progressio volunteers working to clean the Rio Coco