Last night I spoke with Jennifer, one of the Latitude sisters the other being Alanna, and she told me about what their programs that they have implemented. The Sisters are all about changing the perception of charity and NGO. Jenn stressed the idea that in order to run a successful NGO, the first step has to be about listening to the needs of the community. That is exactly what the Sisters have been doing they have community meetings and in these meetings the priority are given to the worst issue. For example with the community we visited, the Sisters built a pre-school then they went onto reroofing some homes and putting up Latrines.
This particular community is home to about 450 residents, the houses are generally spread out there are a few that are close to one another. The dirt roads paved the community and were decorated by feces. The animals in the community are free to roam as they choose. The people in the community normally hitchhike to and from town or they go on horseback. The community is isolated from the other communities and towns. The horses in Nicaragua only cost about $200 dollars which is relatively cheap.
The preschool had about 30-40 kids which were shy around us. They were not used to visitors and seeing so many some kids were overwhelmed. We gave the kids stickers and some school supplies we bought. Following the preschool we visited some of the homes in the community. First we went to Big Mamma’s house and checked in on her mattress. She said that with the new mattress she has been having rich dreams. Next we walked 15 minutes up the way to another house. This house had barbwire and flowers planted in front at the entrance. This house was so clean and well kept. We had the delight of meeting a 9 day old baby. Her name is Emily and seeing her really bought joy into my heart. The family was very proud of their house and all they had. The Nicaraguans are proud and embraces everything that they do have. It was very grounding to not only see how happy these people are but also the work that the Sisters have done for their communities. The Sisters take care of 10 communities and they fund the program 100%. Jenn and Alana spend half the year in Nicaragua and the other half home, in Canada, to raise money. The Sisters are currently staying without any cost to them at the Maderas Village.
After the visit to the community we visited the Jesus the Merciful Statue which is on top of the hill in San Juan del Sur and we concluded the night with some authentic Roman Italian pizza.