Our first week in Masaya consisted of lots of latrine talk, truck breakdowns and acquiring herculean strength to lift cement blocks, countless buckets of gravel and even move a broken down truck with sheer brute force. All in all the week has been eventful, especially if you consider the fact that Nicaragua is currently on a green alert for earthquakes and that we have experienced torrential downpours which have proved fatal in the capital, Managua. On a more positive note, the BRITANICAS* have begun carrying out the necessary work in order to ensure that when we begin construction on Monday we are all specialists in the construction of eco-latrines. 

Early on in the week, we visited the families which the last cycle had already built eco-latrines for in order to ensure that they fully understood the usage and maintenance of their latrine and that they had the necessary materials so as to make it a sustainable feature. In teams, we visited each family in El Pochote in order to gauge the usefulness and success of the project and to ask if they were experiencing any difficulties. We also went to the beneficiaries of the new eco latrines to introduce ourselves and confirm their willingness to take part in the project. 

On Wednesday, the school (which is our everyday meeting point) was closed due to the yellow earthquake alert. Luckily, we had a plan B to fall back on and we were able to go and visit a local eco-farm and the owner even agreed to given us a tour of his land in which he cultivated coconuts, avocadoes, mandarins, and lots of other delicious fruits and vegetables. The view from the eco farm was breath-taking and is one I will not be forgetting in a hurry. 

To end the week, we decided which complementary activities we would be offering to the community in El Pochote. The five activities are health and hygiene, rights, environmental projects, cooperatives and sport and exercise. We are all very excited to hold a women’s day for the community. The women’s choir will perform and we will also hold talks on domestic abuse, gender equality, machismo and sexual diversity. We have started translating famous English songs into Spanish so that we can teach them to the Women’s Choir. Apparently, UB40’s Red, Red Wine really gets a crowd going out here! We left El Pochote on Friday brimming with optimism and feeling positive about the projects. 

That’s all for this week. We are going to spend the weekend relaxing in the local lagoon before the hard graft begins on Monday!

Hasta Luego!!!  

*The British and Nicaraguan volunteers. 

Written by ICS volunteers Sophie Owen & Ryan Coney