Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sabana Grande, Grupo Fenix, and Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa

Sabana Grande, part 1

After we were in Leon for three and a half weeks we went up to Sabana Grande, a small community in the north of Nicaragua (south of Honduras and near Ocotal) to do volunteer work with Grupo Fenix (a group that does work on solar and renewable energy and also works with the Energy University in Managua. If you want to find out more you can go to There is a group of women called Mujeres Solares de Totogalpa (Solar Women of Totogalpa and their web-site is  that work in Sabana Grande on solar and renewable energy also. 

The path up to our house,
its the one on the right!
Susan, the director of Grupo Fenix, was in Leon to visit University Botanical gardens, and then together we took the Express Bus to Esteli. Getting on the next bus to Ocotal was a hassle because there were a million people trying to get on. Susan ended up in the front and my mom and I were in the back. At La Tabla we got off and Yelba (the mom of our house), Scarleth (her 14 -year-old daughter), and Yubelki (a neighbor) met us. We lugged our luggage down a dirt road for about a mile(NOT FUN!!!!!)with Scarleth carrying a bag on her head(!) and my mom and Yelba struggling to carry our biggest bag one but finally we saw our house.

Oso and I in the doorway
The family we were living with was Yelba, Jorge, the dad, Scarleth, Enyel (pronounced like Angel), the 7-year-old son, and Oso, the tiny 2-month-old dog that was sooo cute. They were all very warm and welcoming to us.

Our house had 5 rooms including 3 bedrooms, a common room (that served as the dining room, the living room, and just a general sitting area), and a kitchen. There was a table, chairs and a T.V. in the common room. 
The view from our doorway
Me in our bedroom
The common room

The kitchen

 The kitchen counter

The efficient stove

In the kitchen there was an efficient stove that one of the earlier volunteers had designed. It had a chimney so the smoke would go outside instead of staying in the kitchen and then into the lungs of the people making them sick. It also saved fire wood because the opening was smaller. There was only 3 of these stoves in the community and we were happy to live with one instead of having all of the smoke in our house. 

The shower house and the
The latrine and a raised garden bed
There was no refrigeration and running water where we were living so everyday Yelba and Scarleth went to the well and carried 5 gallon buckets of water on their heads (more than once)!! We helped them a couple times but we couldn't carry the water on our heads..... just with our hands. Then the water went into a 55 gallon drum so we could use it for washing things and ourselves. The "sink" was a slab of rock on concrete blocks. There were bucket showers and they were cold! The shower was a little brick room in the backyard under a papaya tree. There was a dry latrine. 

One of the community wells
Their lives were very different from our lives at home. Yelba and Scarleth got up at 5:00 in the morning to do house work: carry water, grind corn to make tortillas,make the tortillas (my mom made some too but Yelba was much better because my mom's got holes in them!), start the fire, cook, wash clothes, wash dishes, get ready for school, etc... Jorge had to chop fire wood. Enyel got up early too because he had to get ready for school. They all took freezing cold showers when they got up, early in the morning!

the walk to the Solar Center from our house
sometimes we would draw together

1 comment:

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