Wisconsin Nicaragua Partnership
The most successful projects are the result of people in WI and Nicaragua working in harmony - and the “Firefighters United” project, coordinated by Dr. Brad Martin, is a classic example. The project has really brought together Wisconsin and Nicaraguan firefighters. W/NP began to ship fire trucks and ambulances to Nicaragua in 2000, and soon firefighters in both countries began to join in the activities. An average of three or more emergency vehicles are shipped each year, as well as firefighter coats, boots, helmets, air packs, hoses and other necessary equipment. 29 fire trucks (not including these) and 14 ambulances have been shipped to Nicaragua in coordination with the Denton Program. In Nicaragua, Comandante Jaime Delgado, Asociación Civil Cuerpo de Bomberos Voluntarios de Nicaragua, coordinates the incoming shipments of EMS vehicles.
W/NP is immensely grateful for the Denton Program staff and coordinators, the ground and air crews who meticulously plan every detail, and the many Firefighters and Fire Departments that are always on the lookout for resources to share with their Nicaraguan counterparts.
Working together we make a difference.
Great attendance at the conference, which included birders, lake lovers, international travelers, researchers, water educators and managers, conservation organizations, and other Wisconsinites interested in the long-term health and vitality of a significant global resource: the people and communities of Lake Nicaragua!
Special thanks to.... Patrick Goggin and Eric Olsen for their efforts in organizing a well run and high quality event, Dr. Ronald Blandon, Elisa Estrada, Victor Cedeno, and Dinora Sandino for traveling all the way from Nicaragua to be part of the conference, and to Ellen Pies for spending 2 days at the W/NP booth introducing new people to W/NP and presenting beautiful items for sale from Nicaragua.
Purpose of the Lake Nicaragua session:
1. Introduce participants to issues affecting lakes around the world through the lens of Lake Nicaragua, Central America, and the 19th largest freshwater lake in the world. Dr. Ronald Blandon presented information about the new canal project being proposed for Lake Nicaragua by a Chinese company.
2. Learn from biologists, birders, and ecologists about the unique plants and animals of the Lake Nicaragua region and the efforts underway to conserve them such as cichlids, tarpon, water birds, and freshwater sharks.
3. Get glimpses into citizen-led water quality monitoring programs and science approaches to lake conservation; gain a better understanding of how lessons learned from these programs and research efforts can inform and provide a model to developing water quality monitoring stations on Lake Nicaragua.
4. Glean an understanding of the collaborations and community exchange programs and activities currently supported by assorted partners through the Partners of the Americas, Incorporated, the Wisconsin / Nicaragua Partnership, and the Earth Partnership for Schools.
5. Identify potential partnership opportunities and natural synergies that can be nurtured between programs and community members of Wisconsin and Nicaragua based partners [like the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, the College of Natural Resources, UWSP; the Wisconsin Lakes Partnership: University of Wisconsin-Extension Lakes; the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; and Wisconsin Lakes, as well as citizen volunteers, lake managers, lake-related businesses, artists and educators, lake leaders, etc.; the Wisconsin / Nicaragua Partners of the Americas, Incorporated; the University of Wisconsin-Madison Arboretum Earth Partnership for Schools Program; the Farmer-to-Farmer, Partners of the Americas, Incorporated Nicaragua; Cooperative Extension; among others].
6. Network and share stories about capacity building, citizen action support, leadership, and natural resource conservation at a global to community/local scale.
“I had a little extra in my wallet figured if I’m going to promote a cause I should also contribute in it. Otherwise it would look less meaningful to those I’m promoting it to.” - Brad (Sidley) Rabbie
Special thanks to UWSP student Olivia Tharp (former webmaster for W/NP) for putting together an Indiegogo Fund Raiser for the Learning Center Project. Although this campaign is now closed, you can still view the project and video she put together:
We hope to do this again as every effort helps W/NP continue to offer opportunities in Nicaragua, and thanks to these people, Ty Stroope, Anonymous, KayTharp, Anonymous, Brad (Sidley) Rabbie, David Henry, Carole Pelot, Tim Krause, the Learning Center project has more to work with.
Once again, a little chilly with the Wisconsin wind, but the sunshine and positive energy made up for it! Truly an impressive group of volunteers working together to prepare for the next shipment to Nicaragua.
Here are some photos of distribution of school supplies I took with me on the Eyeglass Project in Rio Blanco, Matagalpa. Note the one kid barefoot , it kind of broke my heart and all the girls wearing flip flops instead of shoes. These are really poor families that have no money for a pair of shoes neither for a back pack so our donation was greatly appreciated.
Thanks once again Sara and Kaylee for starting this project and for your enthusiasm to keep it going.
Also included are some photos from Felix Cisneros from the US Embassy of some donations school supplies we gave him for some communities and health centers in Leon. - Mirna Angulo
A note from the Managua Office.....
Besides the regular classes W/NP supports in the Learning Center (LC) network, many LC's have other interesting components. Out of the 100 LC's in our network, some have developed more than others, and some have developed in the past, but have not grown as we hoped. The funds we have are not enough for the centers that request to add additional components or projects such as wood stove and chimney construction, square foot gardens, fruit and vegetable dehydration devices and flute music classes. The project costs are low, and the benefits are high so we continue to look for ways to carry out classes. For example, a few benefits we see are improved nutrition, acquiring or developing artistic skills for children and youth prevents them from bad influences such as drugs and other bad behaviors in their communities and neighborhood.
About four LC’s have requested music classes. They are aware the hardest part of this project is to get the instruments. So a way to start was the idea to do flute music classes. For the LC's that have interest in this class, flutes are inexpensive so W/NP could provide maybe 10 flutes to the LC participants in this project. We can measure the impact how this project responds and then take the next steps and scope out possibilities.
Amazing W/NP Volunteer, Dr. Arthur Angove....80 and still going strong volunteering in Nicaragua!! In the 1970's and 1980's he did volunteer surgeries in Jinotega, and was President of Wisconsin/Nicaragua Partners. Last week the Medical Mission Team he was with saw 720 patients from the area. Photo below is at the clinic in La Esmeralda between Matagalpa and Jinotega.
The March 20 Packing Day went well, although a little chilly, it was certainly warmer than the previous one, and the sunshine helped tremendously to make a very productive day! The quantity of items to sort and pack was pretty amazing, and 8-9 hours later, a pathway was cleared making a very welcome sight to see to say the least.
Special thanks to the W/NP volunteers who joined in the days activities and made a huge difference: Tom O, Linda W, Rob W, Bob B, Mary V, Sara B, Lynn L, Jim K., Milo H, Steve M, Jim T., Erling I, Ann I, Dino T, Brad M and Joanne S.
Especially important is being sensitive to the recipients about what is being shipped, and to the needs in Nicaragua. It takes time and energy to sort out and pack what can and cannot be sent, so we really appreciate whatever sorting/packing can be done prior to items arriving at the warehouse. Here is a link to an interesting article we want to take note of and be sure we are sending ONLY what is needed and can be of good use:http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/medical-equipment-donated-developing-nations-junk-heap/
We are very, very grateful to the many individuals, companies, businesses, hospitals, fire departments, schools, groups and organizations that keep W/NP in mind when they share items that can help support the programs and activities in Nicaragua.
You will notice a few pics of the forklift breakdown, thanks to Jim K, Bob B, Milo H and Tom O, they got it up and running to finish the day!! IF SOMEONE WOULD LIKE TO TAKE ON A CHALLENGE, WE REALLY, REALLY COULD USE AN UPDATED FORKLIFT.
Thanks again everyone, and see you next month, we may try to switch the Packing Day to Saturday for the month of April, so stay tuned!