Since April 18th, Nicaragua has been engulfed in violent oppression resulting in 448 deaths(July 25). Others have been taken into custody and their whereabouts are unknown. Nicaragua has had a rough history but in the last 10 years the tourism industry has seen huge growth. With the violence though, this is sadly almost all gone now. Hotels, hostels, restaurants, travel agencies and basically all kinds of businesses have been closing. The ones that are still in business close in the late afternoon since most of the violence takes place at night time. Most people don’t go out after 6 pm. Some people have been fleeing the country for safety. But many don’t have the money for passports and the cost of moving. With all of this chaos, unemployment has gone up dramatically and increases day by day. Most of the foreigners living and doing business here have pulled out.
To give you some personal context on this, I have been living in beautiful Leon Nicaragua on and off since 2014. Leon is one of Nicaragua’s gems that has been drawing more and more tourists. In all the time that I’ve spent in the country, I have rarely ever felt unsafe. Until now of course. In the beginning of the year I had plans of starting a business in Leon. But that’s all different now. After much hesitation about returning to the country I am finally here. Most people say I am crazy for being here but I love the people and the country. The goal of the project is multi-faceted. My background is in permaculture or in other words sustainable agriculture. The money that I raise will go toward a few things. One will be setting up a piece of land, probably an acre or two. I have money for a down payment and a regular income to pay it off over time. I will employ as many people as I can and in the process teach the people how to grow food responsibly, working with nature and not against it. I hope to give actual classes and workshops in the future on this topic. My final goal is to have a functioning farm with workshops and tours to show the effectiveness of the techniques(farming, education and eco-tourism combined). Other money will go to helping people in their general needs, whether it be money to get their business back up and running or for necessary medicines.
Some people in the project include my good friend Marco Valladares who is an English and Spanish teacher. Currently he tutors several people here but it is not enough to make a good life. Our hope is to expand into full English classes. Luz Maria Venagas is super enthusiastic about the project. She lost her job in the tourism industry but is constantly working to bring about her dreams. Check my updates below about the work we are doing in her backyard. Martha Centeno who lives close by, is a teacher in the public schools here. Teresa Molina just recently lost her job as a teacher. Mayeling Padi lost her job at the tourism office where she worked for some time as well as all her co-workers. She grew up 2 hours from Leon in the country where her family still has a farm. They seem very interested in learning how to grow their crops in a healthier way. Marco Callejas also works in a tourism office but is in danger of losing his job. He loves to work with plants and animals as well as learning English. Cesia Novoa and her family are in danger of losing their bookstore due to the lack of customers.
One of the techniques we want to use is called hugelkultur farming. It’s an old German farming technique. It is a lot of work to establish but once it is set up we will be able grow without or with very minimal irrigation. No tractors are needed afterwards and it establishes amazingly healthy soil for many years in the future. Every year in April and May at the end of the dry season the sky is always a brown color because of all the dirt that is kicked up in the air from the tractors. The dirt causes respiratory problems. And of course it gets all over everything. On a microscopic level the consequences of over tilling the soil is even more destructive. I hope to implement a few techniques of famous Canadian urban farmer Curtis Stone. We will carefully choose crops that are unique to the market and will be in higher demand. And hopefully sell for a higher price. Even though our land will be relatively small compared to the huge peanut farms here, we will practice the permaculture technique of bio-diversity. This means we will create a more natural ecosystem with a variety of crops that work together. My hope is to help Nicaragua recuperate, not only to where it was before, but hopefully better. With this project I will try to stay away from just giving people money. I want to give them opportunities so they can improve their future. Pray for Nicaragua and please help if you can. Or share this page on social media. Thank you 🙂