Following a substantial grant from the British Embassy in Costa Rica (which also covers Nicaragua) towards Proyecto Sol, and a new donation from Midland Heart, the Birmingham-based housing association, we were able to extend the solar panel project to yet another community.
It’s in the very isolated area between Nicaragua’s two big lakes, called Palo Alto. Participants were chosen at a community meeting attended by the embassy’s Nicaragua desk officer, Bruce Callow (centre, in picture). Here we briefly introduce three of the households who participated.
Palo Alto is a very dispersed community: many families are there because they were resettled when Nicaragua’s ‘contra’ war in the 1980s was finally ended. Former members of the ‘Resistencia’ that fought against the 1979 revolution with aid from the United States, two decades later the families have farmland granted by the government, which they cultivate, but otherwise have very poor living conditions.
Melania Gonzalez and Jose Noel Perez (right) were resettled here ten years ago from El Rama, a town near Nicaragua’s Caribbean coast. They have 12 acres of land on which they grow rice, but a house built only of plastic sheets on a rough wooden framework. They now, however, at least have light.
This is a panorama of Palo Alto. Melania and Jose Noel’s nearest neighbours live 1.5km away along a maze of dirt roads, and their house is about 7km from the main road.
Some families have stronger houses: the one in this picture is almost unique: a house made of a shipping container, accessed by the original double doors at one end and with a solitary small window for ventilation. It does, however, now have an inside and outside light supplied by a roof-mounted panel.
Finally, at the house of community leaders Emilse Senteno and Humberto Alvarado, Emilse announced that she could now do the ironing at night time. She meant, of course, that she can now see to use her old-fashioned iron (pictured) which is heated by a lump of hot ash from the fire. Sadly, the power from a small solar panel is not enough for an iron, but it can charge the mobile phones used extensively in this remote part of Nicaragua.
These projects are carried out by ADIC Masaya, supported by the Leicester Masaya Link Group, with donations from various housing associations and others in the UK. More information on the projects is available from LMLG or using our contact page. To make a financial contribution visit the LMLG donations page where you can also donate using Gift Aid.
Previous bulletins on the Masaya projects can be found on the LMLG projects page.