Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Community Organization, Cafeteria Infantil

Before touring Finca Bona Fide, which Michelle will reflect on soon, being the Environmental studies food expert, we visited a children´s nutrition center in Balgue, the community near the hsotel we were staying at on Ometepe. As we looked for the sign to the building, we guessed it was in this brightly colored school house. However, we instead found the program running out of a woman´s house, and had to walk through a sleeping man´s room to find her. She cooks for 35 children every morning in her own kitchen, buying food and using the excess produce from the Bona Fide farm. An addition, 35 kids are fed down the road and the families don´t have to pay to eat at either branch of the program. On Saturday, the local women, one of whom is a nurse, give classes on food nutrition and sanitation to the kids as well--brushing teeth, washing hands, etc. We also got a tour of the brightly colored community center that we passed, called Proyecto Mano Amiga, where they hope to build a bigger kitchen and already have a library for the kids.

This morning meal is extremely important for them, as their parents can´t afford to feed them and the only other meal most of them can rely on is lunch at school. The woman who runs the program makes no profit and developed the program completely on her own. Its amazing how organized and innovative she is, but unfortunately does not have the resources to fulfill her goals. The day we visited, the kids were only getting a glass of milk and an orange each. Michael, the owner and founder of Bona Fide, financially supports her project, but he stressed to us that it was community developed. He told us that it is important to listen to what the people think they need most and support their efforts rather than imposing our own wishes on them. Overall, it struck me how driven and passionate people are about improving their communities, even without resources, and working together to make slow progress, which requires great patience. It was really something to admire.

On another shorter note, I completed one of my goals of taking a nap on a hammock.

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