12 July 2007

Nicaragua: San Jose, Bramadero, Potreritos, Bramadero, Boaco

12 julio San Jose, Bramadero, Potreritos, Bramadero, Boaco
Woke up to our final breakfast with Nonnie, our hostess. R divulged that she had been rained on the previous two nights and hadn’t peeped a word. She also had never seen a rooster before this trip. What a great sport! Piled in the car, and off we went to Bramadero. Jaime said that CCM, another organization, has had volunteers in this area previously. One married a Nicaraguan recently. AsoFenix is working with CCM to possibly have volunteers for the next few years, for water, agriculture, etc. this is part of an ongoing exchange program.
There are two private wells in Bramadero that are apparently just for the farms there. Nine houses are closer to the well designate for the solar pump system, and a number more are farther above. They are using nim trees as natural pesticides (thought we saw more traditional “insecticide packs” in use nearby). When originally asked by H why they use the rubber boots they do, and they replied that the boots are resilient to the insecticides, last up to 4 months and are cheaper than others.
Along the road, we passed by a manual pump created by ENACAL and UNICEF that is dry part of the year. A house boasted a water catchment system behind it, a system that was replicated in a handful of other homes, used primarily for bathing and cleaning. A 32 m. well was covered over, a manual pump that went dry several years before. This is not an uncommon sight in this community. Next to the dry well was a washing stone. A dry 16m. well about 20 m. away from the first. We also passed a number of solar cookers. Main crops in the area: maize and beans.
We spoke to a 26-year old woman named Mercedes holding her daughter, Jaquita. When asked about whether she heard about the pump, she said she had heard that a new pump had been drilled. She said that it was unfair that some people had more water than others. she agreed that there was a difference in the frequency of illness between those with the private wells and those without. With the rain, however, there is less incidence of diarrhea and less need to go to the well for washing water. Mercedes’ mother came by and also mentioned how wonderful it was to have rain. “Gracias a Dios ahora hay mas lluvia” and “Agua es vivo” were two quotes from her.
Meeting with the Bramadero Committee
Francisco, the older gentleman with the hat, sat next to me. There were 4 men and 10 women in the schoolroom in addition to a number of children. Jaime introduced this as a great possibility for better health in the community, economic development, and possibility of reforestation

Map of the Community
Norma, a 4th year student from Teustepe, drew the map according to input from the community. When asked about non-functioning wells, there were 9-11 nonfunctioning wells as opposed to 3 functional wells. There is a mayor in Bramadero. 50 families. Are there more houses every year? There are 2-3 families in some houses, but there are not many new families.

Annual Calendar
Winter is May through November, summer is December through April. Plantings occur in May and September; harvests are in August and November. There is lesster in the wells during the summer, but there is a little year round. Illnesses include gripe, fevers, and diarrhea. There is more rain in September and October, but they have to go to the neighboring community of Aguacate all through May. Animals die in the summer due to hunger and lack of water.
Celebrations – March is Semana Santa; 30 Sept. is Misa de San Jeronimo.
In Dec. and Feb, men go to other countries (like Costa Rica) to work. This option is only available to people with passports, which costs a great deal of money.

Daily Schedule
There are 5 private wells, 2 private wells in the neighboring community of Jocote. 4 families have guaranteed water year-round. Every house has an average of 5 gal. during the summer (10 gallons if one goes to Jocote). In winter, most houses have 15 gallons. Ten houses carry water from Jocote, Aguacate, or San Rafael in winter.
What is the water used for? Water from wells is for cooking and cleaning; must get to Jocote to bathe and shower and wash clothes.
How much time is needed to carry water? Often have the help of horses for carrying. Women do most of the carrying with some help from children. Majority of the houses have horses. Every day requires between 2 ½-3 hours in summer and 1 ½ hours in winter (6 baldes in summer)
Also don’t have latrines due to lack of funds (though I did luckily encounter one behind the pulperia,)
Harvest – crops include maize, tomatoes, cafĂ©, beans, and wheat.
Spend 5 cordobas per month on animals
PAEN is an organization that provides food for children. There were some papers that had edibles and meals with community members’ names assigned next to them.

We went up the road a piece to the community of Potreritos, where we installed a solar water pump the year before.
Two people are on the Water Committee from Potreritos as part of the tri-community 7-person Committee (4 women, 3 men). There hasn’t been a problem with payment, as everyone has paid without trouble. In terms of differences in health, she said that fewer children have diarrhea because they wash their hands and are born under healthier conditions. They wash their hands more as well, in schools for instance.
Five houses have planted porch gardens and more in the additional two areas. The animals go to a well.

We left Potreritos and got to Teustepe only to realize that the one hospidaje in town was full, so we headed to Boaco. What a great town! As we had dinner at Maria Christina’s gazebo diner, a parade streamed into the street from the church toting a statuette. Christina told us that we had fortuitously happened upon the festivities celebrating Boaco’s patron saint, San Domingo (I think?). B & H explored and found a bar complete with mariachi band, but the rest of us were “rendido”.

No comments: