11 November: our mid-point update!
Other than going to remote project sites, we have been in Los Chiles 24/7 since we arrived a month ago. However, in the next month we’re off  to:
- San Carlos, Nicaragua to make connections with a sister NGO Self-Help International and visit their surface water filtration and chlorination projects in southern Nicaragua
- the San Jose Noreste Rotary Club with the Global Grant impact report
- Bijagua/Volcán Tenoria National Park for a 4-day retreat/celebration of our anniversary, G’s birthday and t’giving
- Ciudad Quesada to visit Mary & Ralph Miller, retired UMC missionaries and guardian angels to all VIM
- Alajuela ~Dec 11 to visit our Tica family and fly back to ITH
Never be so focused on what you’re looking for that you overlook the thing you actually find.
Ann Patchett, www.gratefulness.org
Well, we’ve found these ‘gold mines’ that enrich our collective efforts!
DINADECO http://www.dinadeco.go.cr/ …a national system of legally authorized community development associations which can plan and implement projects, e.g., water systems, pre-school and teen programs, etc. These development associations have facilitated 2 of the community water projects, easing the Agua Viva Serves’ (AVS) community organizing role for local governance and enhancing sustainability of the systems. With mentoring of local AVS friends/organizers we are pursuing ways to connect communities without development associations to those that have one.
Nicaraguan contacts…we called the Executive Director of Self-Help International (https://selfhelpinternational.org/accessing-clean-water/) in Waverly, Iowa, who set in motion a plan to meet their staff and visit their community-based water projects, some of which are just over the border. They excel in community training to build and maintain filtration/chlorination components for local water systems and are interested in AVS’ well drilling/system design expertise. Having the local project managers connect is a first step to exploring possibilities for mutual support.
Playing in La Trocha’s mud puddle…finding the little leak! How much of that puddle was run-off from the rain or from a leak? Digging out the 2×16’ trench of the heavy sticky slippery clay soil, bailing water with a cut off plastic soda bottle, and getting to the bottom pipe with the connection that needed to be replaced. Every square inch of skin and clothing was a deep red color!
<– AVS team: Chente, Fran, Omar (in the mud puddle) w/ G on edge of photo
Báho/váho and Dia de los Muertos…Doña Thelma, Cabinas La Carolina’s owner, was widowed last April and her 5 children and several grand- and great-grandchildren gathered for a family remembrance of Don Norberto’s life. The Nicaragua signature dish for Dia de Los Muertos (All Saints Day) is báho/váho…made with salt/sun cured beef, onions, garlic, tomato, cabbage, yucca, platanos in a large caldron lined and covered with banana leaves and steamed over a low wood fire for ~4 hrs…served with cabbage & tomato salad and rice: yummy! Afterward, Doña Thelma and family gathered for the Rosary and visited the cemetery to decorate his grave.
AVS Water System Inventory… the team started updating documentation (photos, GPS, # homes, condition, contact person) of the 60+ wells/systems they have done in since 2010 – impacting 6000+ children and adults (more AVS info at http://avs.ngo/about/ and http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/3021984 . The goal is to have a comprehensive assessment for strategic planning with the new Executive Director when Joel returns stateside for a Thanksgiving break.
Illegal gold mining… Speaking of gold mines, we learned early in our stay that a ‘gold rush’ was happening in Las Crucitas, a Canadian-owned site for gold mining closed in 2010 with a change in Costa Rican environmental law. It’s near several of the communities AVS has worked with. The Costa Rican Migration Police (armed) were everywhere in the community/area, flying helicopters in and out of the recently expanded/paved aerodromo (not yet used for commercial flights). The on-going issues range from environmental degradation including pollution from mercury in local water systems, illegal migration, lack of employment/poverty, to organized crime (http://www.ticotimes.net/2017/11/03/canadian-mine-case-against-costa-rican-ex-president-reopened). Please keep these global issues in your hearts and prayers.
40 Days of Generosity…la Iglesia Evangelica Metodista de Costa Rica is using this daily study guide throughout the conference to raise the consciousness of the Church about where all that we have comes from and how to be faithful stewards of these resources. Families and small groups are gathering for reflection, videos and guided conversation; we are doing our ‘in English’ version!
<– This búho joins us in sending you warm wishes for this time of giving thanks. we are grateful for your generosity in supporting the changes you wish to see in the world. Together we can!
…think on these things! Abrazos, n & G
 via buses..b/c the Montero, 1/3 of the AVS fleet (4×4), is down for the count and the 2 big Ford trucks are held together with frequent repairs. import taxes on a vehicle less than 3 years old is nominal compared with 3+ years at ~80%. Please pass along any leads for newer model trucks/vehicles!