Hello Everyone! The June visit to Ometepe Island, Nicaragua was filled with lots of heat (not from hot flashes) and humility. There is much to share in terms of our core pillars of Mind, Body & Spirit that we decided to split this e-newsletter into two parts. Part two will arrive in July.
Current travel to/from Nicaragua is confusing and frustrating due to the country’s rules on Covid-19 testing. We welcomed visitors, Jim & Cady G., from Maryland, but they departed Ometepe early due to these travel restrictions. Their visit was still a success, as their presence & gifts blessed two communities on the island. Meanwhile, we are thankful there is no current Covid-19 outbreak in Ometepe. The same is not true on the mainland, especially near Stacy & Cory’s community of Diriamba (see their e-news).
The physical drain from June’s heat on my middle-aged body & mind (and ability to speak Spanish) was exhausting despite electrolytes. God reminded me that feeling sorry for myself was not an option as my struggle is nothing compared to the reality of the families in Ometepe. Most families here continue small crop farming for basic survival. However weather patterns caused more than a 40% decrease in yield, while at the same time, the wholesalers are paying significantly less for crops like plantains. It’s so unfair. Some of these hardworking families have children who are malnourished and coming to OBGM for temporary food assistance.
Erlin & I revisited the remaining Cosecha Ometepe budget (raised in late-2020) and came up with a plan to invest the remaining balance to help qualified family farmers diversify their business (and skills) through a microlending program. We identified three projects (pigs, chickens & a brick oven for a bread baker) all of which will yield a good “return” especially as tourism returns to Ometepe. See below for specifics. We are seeking support to help fully fund the first three families.
Each and every family we encountered during this visit met us with an outpouring of gratitude, prayer and love for YOUR support. We opened our new personal home in Santa Cruz and I am now 5-lbs “gordita” from all the blessings of avocados, eggs, mangos, lime, gallo pinto (rice & beans), bread, jewelry, cultural dancing and LIVE music from our local community. I am still welled up with tears just thinking about the abundance they shared in thanksgiving to God, despite having so little. I am also humbled by our local staff and volunteers who continually seek out and focus on the interests of others and walk the path of Christ on a daily basis (Philippians 2:3-5).
Please pray for OBGM’s staff (Erlin, Hilder & Leydi), their families, Stacy & Cory Martin & family, Francisco Valverde (late-stage cancer), families in our food, medicine & milk programs, peace for the November elections in Nicaragua and continued protection from the pandemic. We hope to see some of you in July. Thanks for your continued prayers and faith in God’s vision for Ometepe.
Rochelle & TJ
BODY & SPIRIT: OMETEPE MICROLOANS
You can help improve the living conditions of a family in Ometepe by becoming a microlender. All loans are tailored to small farmers or microbusinesses which will expand a family’s earnings. Each family and business opportunity is vetted through an application process and receives mentoring by OBGM during their business cycle until the loan is repaid. You can help supply a healthy piglet for as little as $50, or to start a basic farm of four (structure, 4 piglets, food, vitamins & vet care) for $1,500, however any amount helps. Families will repay their 0%-interest loan over a 1-3 year time period. When the loan is repaid, you can choose another new business to reinvest in here in Nicaragua. See below profiles.
Meet Vicente, Alyeris & family. Vicente already has 2 years’ experience successfully running a small chicken farm (100 chickens) until he was forced to sell during the political crisis of 2018. Will you help Vicente re-launch his chicken business with a microloan? Click here.
RICARDO, BREAD BAKER
Ricardo bakes bread in the community. He lives with his wife and elderly mother. His brick oven recently collapsed and therefore is earning no income. Will you help Ricardo re-launch his baking business with a microloan? Click here.
|4 LITTLE PIGS|
Two “machos” (male) and two “embras” (female) piglets need a new chiquero (pig house) and young family to raise the best pigs in Ometepe. Will you help a family farmer launch a pig business with a microloan? Click here.
MINDS: Earlier this year OBGM installed fiberoptic internet & wifi to a community school to enhance learning for the 130+ students, grades pre-K to 6. This also enables OBGM supporters to volunteer in our children’s English program providing pronunciation support to Hilder, our amazing English teacher, who is native to Ometepe. The kids are on BREAK early July and we’ll advise when sign-ups for online class instruction resumes.
BODY: Welcome. Take a tour of Marta’s new home! Thank you to all who made this possible to keep her family safe during rainy season. A special thanks to Tom Fritz of Island Breeze Ministries who provided a lot of hard work, donated supplies and construction oversight. Thank you also to Maderas Artisans Mission Collective (Cory & Stacy Martin) for extra support and love. We are united as One Body in Christ.