News in Nagarote! — Alan Wright of SosteNica

The second week of the CUSD/SNN delegation is, after only one full day, shaping up very nicely.  A core group of six students has bridged the two weeks.  A couple of those had come to Nicaragua in June of 2012.  Many of them were leaders in CUSD before coming to Nicaragua.  Naturally, they have assumed leadership here in Nagarote.  The four working groups: communications, house construction, composting toilet and landscaping are now rolling like a well fired locomotive.

Today, “Sábados Nagarote”, a local television program hosted by Manuel Real featured the “new sustainable adobe model building” being constructed in Nagarote.  The editing and the sound track were less than professional, but we all enjoyed seeing ourselves on Nicaraguan television.  Minutes after the program ended, we were interviewed by the editor of Nagarote’s only print newspaper – “El Clarin.”   A 12-foot banner for the front of the construction site has been designed and commissioned for $50 dollars, while informational quarter-cards are being produced to hand out at around town, to answer questions about the construction.  Add to that this blog and numerous entries on the Facebook pages of SosteNica and CUSD.  In sum, the communications team has been busy, productive, and successful.

Simultaneously, the composting toilet team has been hard at work.  Because there is no provision (at this writing) for finishing their composting toilet building, the architects and engineers have been pushing ahead at a break-neck pace to advance their project.  They have cited and dug 1.2 meters for their foundation, in dirt almost as hard a rock.  They have taken two horse-drawn cart journeys to gather local building materials, not from the Home Depot but from Mother Earth – one for boulders from the shore of Lake Managua, the other for sand from a 6-kilometer remote sand pit.   They have ordered and received bricks, as well as a specially designed toilet bowl.  They have mixed a lime and sand mortar and laid an impressively solid foundation — all in one week.

Today the landscape team visited a local nursery to source plants for the patio garden in the model building as well as for the model rural garden at the home of Mario Perez.  They have already watered and mulched Mario’s citrus orchard and dug an impressive banana circle, to which they routed the run off from the family’s outdoor shower.  They have laid out three beds for double digging, and have actually double dug one of them.  They have a shared work day planned with the UNAN Leon (the national university’s agro-ecology program) during which they intend to dig and plant terraces, garden beds, and more.  They too are burning with enthusiasm.

Last, but certainly not least, is the team building the adobe model house.  Tomorrow, Sunday, they have invited the Nicaraguan masons to join us on their day off.  After having rebuilt the foundation stem wall, tamped the sub-floor and spread crushed stone, dug a pit into which adobe mortar was mixed, they are ready to lay the very first adobe block.  This is, in some sense, the moment we have all been waiting for.  The photos will speak volumes about the progress we have made.

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