When Mrs. Marquardt returned to Mariner High School in Everett, WA after visiting us in Nicaragua she was passionate about connecting students from Salinas Grande with her own students. Her stories about the learning conditions in our small fishing village inspired a group of passionate young ladies to present a project at Washington Global Issues Network Conference. Their dream is to open the world to the students of La Tribu Radiante by helping them learn to read and giving them access to literature. It takes about 15 days of work to afford a book in the local economy. This is where the dream for a community library was born.
Our goal is to build a library with as much recycled material as possible. This will create a fun space for learning while reducing the amount of trash in the community. We’ll encourage our students to take ownership of the project by showing them how to make an eco-brick. Using funds raised by the students at Mariner, we’ll then purchase those eco-bricks and hire local tradesmen to construct the library. Trash will be kept out of the ocean and surrounding area while the people of the community will receive an opportunity to earn a little extra cash. To make it fun we’ve decided on a ship theme for the library. Part of the library (the cabin of the ship) will be constructed to be water tight so the books will stay clean and dry for years to come. The bow of the boat will provide multiple spaces to sit in the shade and sail away with a good story. We can use all the help we can get to make the Library Ship a reality. If you are feeling adventurous, we’d love to have you come experience life in Salinas for yourself. You could haul down books or help with construction. Even a project using recycled material takes money. Of course we are excited to fill the library with books, so donations to the project are much appreciated. 100% of all funds donated will go toward the construction of the Library and filling it with books.
Turn On The Water
Salinas Grande is a community of over 2,000 people living in 400 homes across six coastal villages. And while the Pacific Ocean makes for a beautiful backdrop, it presents its own challenges. One look around the dry, thorny landscape and you’ll realize that water tops the list. We are so excited to partner with SuNica to work on tackling this problem.
The community’s well can’t meet the needs of the people. Five of the villages only have access to water for 2 hours every other day. The people there have to be home and ready when the water turns on, filling buckets and barrels just to make it through until the water comes back on days later. The simple answer seems to be “run the pump more!”, but doing so risks intrusion of salt water into their aquifer due to the well’s close vicinity to the ocean.
It’s an even bigger challenge in the sixth village. These families must either walk up the road to purchase water from their neighbors who are already trying to ration for the next two days, or travel several kilometers inland to fetch water from a hand-pumped well. They must do this for every drop of water that their home uses. Between the financial cost and the wasted time, it’s hard to say which is the bigger factor holding people back.
But there is hope!
It won’t be easy, but we’ve got a roadmap in mind. Here’s what we envision the steps to success look like, and that we’ve built our Turn On The Water budget around.
First, and most importantly, is engaging community leadership. This step has already begun and will continue for the duration of the project and even beyond. We know that the community is ready to fix this problem, but they need help with the resources to accomplish the goal.
Next up is boosting capacity and getting that sixth village connected. The game plan is to purchase property 4 to 6 kilometers inland where salinity in the groundwater is not a concern. There we’d drill a new well, build two new water tanks, and pipe that water back downhill to Salinas. Pipes from the first water tank would connect into the existing Salinas water system to provide an immediate boost to the capacity. The second tank would be piped straight to the sixth village. It will connect into a new pipe network that the community will construct, bringing clean water to every home in town.
After funding is complete, Water and Light will work alongside SuNica and the community for the next 18 to 24 months towards the dream of 24/7 clean water piped to every home.