I began my work in Nicaragua four years ago purely as an opportunity to offer my skills where they might be needed, learn a second language through immersion, and experience a different culture, not so much as a tourist but as a helpful interloper. I chose a lovely place on the planet, and though lack of resources, economic hurdles, and environmental devastation is sometimes extreme, the people are happy and tranquillo! I continue to return, still benefitting from language and cultural immersion and still able to share my skills in an interexchange of vernacular earthen building and important technique improvements for health, safety, function and beauty.
This is my 4th season in Nicaragua and my first representing the Nicaragua Pueblo Project (NPP). NPP is a new organization, with volunteer leadership in both Nicaragua and the US/Canada. Our mission is to blend traditional construction practices with modern adaptations. Using locally sourced materials and providing hands-on training, women and youth are empowered by giving them the tools and life-long skills to build strong, resilient communities.
Growing an organization with such strong grassroots intention is slow and powerful. We aren’t helping by giving or doing for others as much as by leading, exchanging, sharing, and celebrating! And to empower a village does take a village. I have been working as a volunteer for several seasons now and though the work is wonderful and rewarding, to make it sustainable the financial support and teamwork must grow.
This season will bring several family-shared home improvements which includes oil-stabilized earthen floors and beautiful earthen wall plasters. It will bring hands-on and class training to dozens of locals and will be interspersed with the cultural exchange of a large handful of international guests and participants. It will bring buildings, improved composting latrines, and storage sheds for locals to safely keep tools and food. And it will bring creative discovery, much laughter and pride, and gorgeous examples of what can be done to improve a simple earthen home. Please join us to grow this beautiful vision in a sustainable way. Please consider being part of our team as we find our way to become an organization that keeps its integrity of growing in a sustainable and respectful manner.
Liz Johndrow, Founder